Cops, one of the first unscripted TV shows, will air its 700th episode on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on FOX. The show is now in its 20th season, and previous seasons’ episodes air in syndication; the series has also spawned three uncensored DVDs.
Ironically, the series celebrates this milestone during a Writers Guild strike; it was born during the last strike, in 1988, although it debuted in March of 1989, after the strike ended. Like the series’ first episode, which followed officers in Broward County, Fla., the 700th episode will include a segment filmed in South Florida.
Besides introducing broadcast network audiences to the entertainment value of real people in real situations, the show also gave us reality show talent like Bertram Van Munster, who went on to create and executive produce The Amazing Race with his partner Elise Doganieri.
The network says that during its life, Cops “has profiled law enforcement agencies in over 140 United States cities and has also filmed in Hong Kong, London, Central and South America, Moscow and St. Petersburg. It was the first American television program to follow the police in the former Soviet Union.”