Sometimes called “the father of reality television,” John Langley co-created the TV series “Cops” with partner Malcolm Barbour. The series, which follows the day-to-day patrols of police departments all over the country, has been on the air since 1989 and is one of the longest-running series on television.
Langley grew up in West Los Angeles and Manhattan Beach, and when he was 18, joined the Army and eventually an intelligence unit, serving in Panama for two years. After leaving the Army in 1971, he returned to school, eventually receiving a PhD in the philosophy of aesthetics. He began to pursue a career in academia.
A screenplay Langley wrote attracted the attention of a producer at Warner Bros., who asked him to produce a movie. The project fell through, but Langley’s Hollywood career began. He eventually formed a production company with Barbour and produced a documentary about drug addiction called “Cocaine Blues” in 1983. Langley then produced several news specials with Geraldo Rivera, as well as a workout video with '80s action star Dolph Lundgren (and he hired young video clerks Roger Avary and Quentin Tarantino as production assistants) before launching “Cops” on Fox.
The series had aired 948 episodes as of September 2010, earned four Emmy nominations and made its theme song “Bad Boys” by Inner Circle an enduring hit.
Currently Langley also produces “Street Patrol” and “Jail” with his son, Malcolm Langley.