News

USA Hopes Crime Does Pay

3/19/2001 1:51 PM Eastern

Creating a potential rival to Courtroom Television Network, USA Networks Inc.
will launch a digital network called Crime this fall, officials said Monday.

The digital service is being cofounded by Cops creator John Langley,
with USA acquiring his Web site, crime.com
-- which offers information and entertainment relating to crime -- to act as
the interactive component of the new channel. Crime is aiming to be 'the No. 1
destination for all that is crime.'

USA officials couldn't be reached for comment, and no distribution deals were
cited for the new digital service.

But in a prepared statement, USA Cable president Stephen Chao said, 'It has
always been USA Cable's mandate to develop compelling program services and to
grow our presence in the televised world. By announcing the forthcoming launch
of Crime and our parallel acquisition of crime.com, we are combining resources
to create a network whose charter is to fully explore an essential genre that is
evident on a multiplicity of disparate networks but is fully realized on
none.'

Langley will create and produce original series for Crime such as
CrimeScene,a weekly talk show that will feature defense
attorneys, law officers and crime victims; as well as Police Beat, a
daily reality strip hosted by a veteran police detective. Crime will also air
theatricals such as Dead Man Walking and Con Air.

Court TV officials were quick to point out that Crime will be much different
from their network in that it won't be doing trial coverage and it has no
carriage base.

'There's no competition without distribution,' Court TV chairman Henry
Schleiff said, comparing Lifetime Television versus Oxygen to Court TV's
position compared with Crime.

'[USA Networks Inc. chairman] Barry Diller is still one of the most astute
programmers, and his programming instincts are second to none,' Schleiff said.
'Accordingly, we take [Crime] at Court TV as further confirmation of the appeal
of the genre of crime and justice that we cover. Imitation is certainly a form
of flattery.'

Court TV - which is owned by AOL Time Warner Inc. and Liberty Media Group --
is now in 55 million homes.

Doug Lee, CEO of crime.com, will serve as general manager of the cable
channel. He helped to oversee the launch of Noggin by
Nickelodeon.

March