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CBS Revamps Its Cop Shows Because of Black Lives Matter

CBS Revamps Its Cop Shows Because of Black Lives Matter
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Wednesday, 14 October 2020 02:31 PM

The Black Lives Matter movement has forced TV networks to take a closer look at the messages their cop shows convey to the public. Now CBS has taken it a step further by bringing in a criminal justice organization to help scriptwriters and producers analyze the potential influences their shows have and to make changes to their programs accordingly.

CBS has hired 21CP Solutions, a group that usually assists in remaking police departments but that has been tasked with helping the network shape its shows, reported The Washington Post. CBS's "MacGyver" reboot will provide the perfect example of the work it has been doing with 21CP.

In an upcoming episode, the lead character will hold conversations of racial justice as well as police defunding and various other related topics with a friend.

"This will help our storytelling become more authentic," commented Monica Macer, showrunner for "MacGyver."

"We’re a fun show about stopping the threat of the day with some witty banter," she continued, adding that, "as a society we’re also at an inflection point, and I’m not afraid to lean into that."

The messages conveyed in these shows are not obvious statements but rather subtle portrayals of cops as heroes. Travis Dixon, a professor of communication at the University of Illinois with knowledge on the topic, explained that the entertainment industry depicts police officers as successful at their jobs, but also as "hypermasculine and overly aggressive." This can result in the public accepting this behavior as the norm.

"These roles we see on television influence how we think of them," added Glenn Sparks, a professor at Purdue University who has studied the subject extensively. "If police are aggressive, we’ll tend to think of them as aggressive. If what they’re doing is fun and games, we’ll think of them that way."

Commenting on the decision to strike a deal with 21 CP, David Stapf, president of CBS Studios, said it was vital that they took a deeper look at their shows.

"I think this is the next evolution for us," he claimed.

Not all are in favor of the move to address the topics and paint police in a different light. Patrick Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, said the changes could be harmful rather than helpful.

"They will be stories engineered to further diminish public opinion of police officers so that the anti-police movement can achieve their ultimate goal: the complete abolition of policing and total impunity for criminals," he noted.

However, Nixon insists the 21CP deal is beneficial.

"I think it’s helpful," he said. "The issue is how much of a factor, given the profit motive, it really is. There’s a lot of money at stake in doing it a certain way."

Stapf said it was about the bigger picture.

"I wouldn’t care if there was a Blue Lives Matter backlash," he explained. "I just want us to expose ourselves to different points of view. And not just pat ourselves on the back for doing it right."

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The Black Lives Matter movement has forced TV networks to take a closer look at the messages their cop shows convey to the public. Now CBS has taken it a step further by bringing in a criminal justice organization to help scriptwriters and producers analyze the potential...
cbs, black lives matter
506
2020-31-14
Wednesday, 14 October 2020 02:31 PM
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