Gavel Comes Down on Court TV


Court TV will soon replace courtroom coverage with programs about bickering neighbors, renegade snowboarders and other reality shows.

Court TV plans to change its name to truTV on Jan. 1. Coverage trials in U.S. courtrooms — the staple of Court TV programming when it was founded in 1991 — will be reduced to six hours of daytime programming.

The move, announced last Wednesday, comes 14 months after Turner Broadcasting System completed its acquisition of the network through a deal with Liberty Media.

Following the name change, Nielsen Media Research will begin measuring the network each day at 3 p.m., starting with a new one-hour talk hosted by former attorney and The View co-host Star Jones.

Turner said in last week's announcement that the revamped network plans to target the “real engagers” psychographic.

Turner is also developing four programming projects through deals with Granada Television, producer of Fox's Nanny 911; Original Productions, co-producer of Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch; Bunim/Murray Productions, creators of MTV's The Real World; and Tiger Aspect USA, producer of Animal Planet's Ms. Adventure.

New programming in development for truTV includes Neighbors 911, which will follow people involved in fights with their neighbors, and Ski Patrol, which Turner said will show people doing “everything from dynamiting snowdrifts and performing daring out-of-bounds rescues to busting unruly snowboarders looking for a party on the slopes.”

The network also plans to follow oil drillers in Black Gold, while Outlaw Chasers will follow storm chasers.

The name change comes at a time of ratings strength for the network. During the second quarter, Court TV's total-day household average grew 20% to a 0.6 from a 0.5 in the same period in 2006. In primetime, Court TV notched a 25% advance to a 1.0 mark from 0.8, buoyed in part by its “RED” action-reality block.

Court TV was founded in 1991 by Steve Brill, who formed a joint venture with his American Lawyer Media Partnership, Time Warner, NBC, Cablevision Systems and Liberty Media.

Time Warner and Liberty later acquired NBC and Cablevision's stake in the network, and Time Warner took full ownership of the channel last year.