The show will follow the work of activists known as “copwatchers” who try to monitor police activity in volatile areas. BET has ordered 10 hourlong episodes from Renowned Films and Critical Content.
“BET Networks is committed to bringing important stories of systemic issues of race and justice across our nation to light. We are taking this on in a way no other brand and network can, through platforms like our powerful ‘Finding Justice’ franchise and our upcoming original docu-series Copwatch America,” said Marisa Levy, VP and head of unscripted for BET Networks. “We look forward to partnering with acclaimed storytellers Renowned Films and Critical Content and continue to empower our community and focus on activists who use video cameras to protect the rights and in some cases, the lives of African-Americans in police encounters.”
“Copwatch America” is executive produced by Max Welch, Tim Withers and Duane Jones for Renowned Films and by Tom Forman for Critical Content. The show will deal with grittier subject matter than BET, which has undergone a management shakeup in the past year, has fielded with its unscripted programming in the past.
“ ‘Copwatch America’ will be shocking, eye-opening, exhilarating, explosive must watch action getting to the core of one of the biggest issues facing America, its police and the communities they serve today,” said Welch. “Prepare for plenty of confrontation, powerful personal stories, injustices, and debate, as we capture the groundbreaking stories of those on both sides of the story in search of truth.”
Added Jones: “It has never been more of an important time to bring the remarkable stories of cop watchers across the U.S. and their continued fight against injustice to the public.”
BET said the show’s cameras will be “embedded” with activists in major cities and will also aim to give the perspective of law enforcement officers on incidents. BET said the series is slated for a fall premiere.
“I’ve spent my career telling law enforcement stories, but never from this perspective. Not even close. Hats off to BET for allowing us to tackle this subject matter in a way that speaks to their audience and this time,” said Forman, who is CEO of Critical Content.