Real-life officers are followed by a camera crew, cinéma-vérité style, in a gritty up-close look at police work and the consequences of crime. The result: one of Fox's longest-running series (it premiered in March 1989). It also spawned a number of police-reality imitators.Initially filmed only in Broward County, Fla., the series went on to show officers in locations across the country.
The smash reality series showcases wannabe pop stars competing for a record deal by crooning for a panel of judges, including, most entertainingly, the acid-tongued Simon Cowell, who departed the show in 2010 after serving for nine seasons. The judges review a performer's talent (or lack thereof), and at-home viewers then vote for their favorite potential star. The show helped launch the careers of such artists as Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Hudson and Adam Lambert.