Court TV Sequesters New Name Until '08

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New York — The verdict is in on the new positioning, but the jury evidently will be deliberating for quite some time about a new moniker.

With an eye toward more real-life stories in primetime, Court TV plans to bear a new name, look and logo, but it won't unveil them until Jan. 1, 2008.

The channel — placed under the Turner Entertainment Networks umbrella last spring, after parent Time Warner Inc. purchased the 50% of the network it didn't own from Liberty Media for $735 million in cash — wants to provide more shows with first-person voices.

The target: a psychographic known as “real engagers,” whom network officials, speaking at Turner Entertainment's upfront presentation to advertisers here March 13, described as viewers interested in real-life stories as told by the people involved.

Court TV general manager Marc Juris said the decision was guided by extensive research of the network's fringe, primetime and late-night viewers. The data found that while these audiences — which tend to skew slightly male — have a taste for action-oriented fare, they also expressed interest in compelling real-life stories and characters. Juris said the research indicated that 45% of all TV viewers have an affinity for the type of fare the new Court plans to offer.

“This programming appeals to both our existing audience and others. Everyone has a camera that is capturing life,” said Juris, adding that authoritative first-person fare also lends itself to other platforms.

The changes come as Court TV has registered a 31% increase among adults 18 to 49 during January and February. With an average of 507,000, Court ranked No. 9 in basic-cable networks among that group last month, up from No. 18 in February 2006.

Also part of the process: a daytime remake. Trial coverage will remain from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but the legal matters will then shift to courttv.com. In their stead, the channel will showcase a two-hour afternoon block until 5 p.m. featuring Nancy Grace: Closing Arguments and a new series from Star Jones.

On the programming side, Juris announced that a fourth season of Beach Patrol will debut this summer. Also on tap: Bounty Girls, a look at an elite female team of bounty hunters working the trade in Florida.

New series in production include: The Real Hustle, about a trio who succeed in scamming New Yorkers; and Most Daring, centering on rescue missions.

In development: Tiger Team, a look at a group of expert security professionals, and The Room, in which real cops interrogate real suspects.

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