Saturday, May 29, 2004

'Cops' producers get the last laugh

City pulls out, but suburbs clamoring to be on the show

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati didn't want Cops. But it seems everybody else does.

Film crews for the Fox TV show that stirred Cincinnati City Hall into a hullabaloo this week started filming Friday night in Norwood. Covington's mayor, a big fan of the show, fired off an e-mail inviting the crews to film that city's police, too.

Explain yourself: 'Cops' and City Council

And the producers will meet Tuesday morning with Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis to discuss filming his deputies.

The issue lit up phone lines Friday on talk-radio stations. The whole thing left show creator John Langley laughing.

"Cops gone? Not so fast,'' he said from his office in Santa Monica, Calif. "We heard from the sheriff, who said come on down.

"So guess what? We're going to stay.''

Crews rode Friday night with Norwood Officer Eric Nelson. He got into a foot pursuit Thursday, Chief Bill Schlie said - "too bad Cops didn't see that.''

Crews had been filming two days in Cincinnati before Chief Tom Streicher Thursday asked them to stop. He said he thought the show would show the good work his officers do. But he rescinded the offer, saying it wasn't worth a battle with some City Council members who were worried that the show would negatively reflect on the city's image and their efforts to boost tourism.

Langley laughed at that, too: "We just left Las Vegas, and I can assure you we did not affect tourism.''

Cincinnati, on pace to match last year's 26-year homicide high, is still reeling from race riots three years ago that sparked an economic boycott and a federal investigation into the Cincinnati Police Department.

The show has never before been asked to leave a city, Langely said. Some Cincinnati council members hope the suburban interest will keep the show in the area long enough for them to rescind the rescinded offer. Councilman Sam Malone plans to put a resolution on Wednesday's meeting agenda to invite film crews back into the city.

Councilman David Pepper was working to see if a majority of council would support such a move. He said the city looks "sillier'' now than if it had just let filming continue.



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