|Founded||December 14, 1990|
|Slogan||Join The Investigation|
Your Front Row Seat to Justice
|Owner||Court TV Media LLC|
|Parent||Katz Broadcasting, LLC|
(E. W. Scripps Company)
John Alleva and Scott Tufts
Court TV is a former American cable television channel and upcoming digital broadcast channel. Originally launched in 1991 with a focus on crime-themed programs such as true crime documentary series, legal dramas, and coverage of prominent criminal cases. In 2008, the original cable channel became TruTV. The channel will relaunch in May 2019 as a digital broadcast television network that is owned by Katz Broadcasting, a subsidiary of the E. W. Scripps Company.
As a multichannel television network
The Courtroom Television Network, or Court TV for short, was launched on July 1, 1991 at 6:00 am Eastern Time, and was available to three million subscribers. Its original anchors were Fred Graham, Cynthia McFadden, and Terry Moran. The network was born out of two competing projects to launch cable channels with live courtroom proceedings, the American Trial Network from Time Warner and American Lawyer Media, and In Court from Cablevision and NBC. Both projects were present at the National Cable Television Association in June 1990. Rather than trying to establish two competing networks, the projects were combined on December 14, 1990. Liberty Media would join the venture in 1991. The network's first logo consisted of a rectangle with the word "COURT", and the letters "TV" below, with a line underneath. The network's second logo ran from 1999 to 2005. The network's third and final logo ran from 2005 to 2007.
The channel originally consisted of live courtroom trials that are interspersed with anchors and reporters. It was led by law writer Steven Brill, who later left the network in 1997. The network came into its own during the Menendez brothers' first trial in 1994, and the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995. In 1998, NBC sold its share of the network to Time Warner. That same year, Court TV began running several original and acquired programs in prime time, such as Homicide: Life on the Street, Cops, and Forensic Files.
Recognizing the growth of its primetime programming, Court TV announced in 2005 that it would split its programming into two brands. Daytime trial coverage was branded as Court TV News, while other dayparts were branded under the tagline Seriously Entertaining; this programming would feature new reality television series focusing on crime-oriented topics. In January 2006, the network launched a male-targeted programming block known as "RED", an abbreviation of "Real. Exciting. Dramatic."
Time Warner bought full control of Court TV in 2006 and began running it as part of the company's Turner Broadcasting System division. The buyout of Court TV marked Time Warner's first television network acquisition, rather than a sale, since the acquisition of Turner in 1996. On July 11, 2007, it was announced that Court TV would be relaunched as truTV on January 1, 2008. The new brand was intended to accompany a larger shift towards action-oriented reality series which did not necessarily involve crime or law enforcement. The change was made on January 1, 2008.
Reruns of Court TV series have since aired on HLN (primarily Forensic Files), and have also been syndicated to the over-the-air digital network Justice Network. With changes to HLN's programming strategy and the growing popularity of the genre, the network began to produce and premiere more original true crime programs in 2017.
Relaunch as a digital broadcast television network
On December 10, 2018, Katz Broadcasting (owned by the E. W. Scripps Company) announced that they will relaunch Court TV as an over-the-air network following the acquisition of the intellectual property rights to the Court TV name and Court TV library from the Turner Broadcasting System. The channel is expected to launch in May 8, 2019. Scripps has announced affiliation deals with Tribune Media (as well as a possibility of Nexstar Media Group stations, pending approval of Nexstar's acquisition of Tribune), and Univision Communications as of that date. Existing Scripps-owned stations are expected to announce affiliation as well.
As part of the relaunched Court TV is expected to feature live court coverage with original Court TV anchor Vinnie Politan as lead anchor, Court TV and CNN producers John Alleva and Scott Tufts as vice presidents and managing editors.
Court TV's original programming traditionally consisted of reality legal programming and legal dramas, such as legal-based news shows, legal-based talk shows, live homicide trial coverage, court shows, police force shows, and other criminal justice programming. The channel also carried a week-daily news block, In Session (the successor to Court TV News), which provided live coverage of trials, legal news and details of highly publicized crimes Monday through Fridays from 9 to 11 a.m. ET (except during national holidays, with reruns of the channel's reality programming airing in place of the block on such days). Its coverage included analysis from anchors and guests to help viewers understand legal proceedings. In Session also ran a blog, Sidebar, where the In Session team posted updated legal news and analysis.
In 2001 Court TV purchased The Smoking Gun, a website that focuses on legal items such as mug shots and other public documents pertaining to famous individuals and cases. The site remained a property of the company through the rebranding to TruTV, but was sold back to its founder in 2014.
Court TV purchased the website Crime Library, which provided detailed information about infamous crimes and how they were solved, in 2001. The website remained an actively updated Court TV/TruTV property until 2014, and was taken offline in 2015.
On February 3, 2003, Court TV Plus debuted on Sirius Satellite Radio, featuring audio from Court TV programs. Launched on Channel 134, it was moved in September 2005 and aired on Channel 110 until the channel ceased operations on January 1, 2008. The Channel featured the wildly popular “Court TV Morning with Vinnie Politan.” The show’s fans formed a group of listeners known as 110ers. The show was hosted by Vinnie Politan and produced by radio legend Glen Jones and Mark Goldman. The show featured a giveaway gameshow segment hosted by Wink Politan. Rufus, Pappa Bear and Big D were regular favorite callers.
Court TV Canada, a Canadian version of the channel under its previous format, owned by CHUM Limited (and later acquired by CTVglobemedia which then sold its assets to Bell Canada under the Bell Media subsidiary), launched on September 7, 2001. Unlike its U.S. counterpart, it did not re-brand under the TruTV name and continued to operate as Court TV until August 30, 2010, when, as part of a wider licensing agreement with Discovery Communications and CTV, Court TV was replaced by Investigation Discovery.
The U.S. version of Court TV had earlier been approved by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission as an eligible foreign channel in 1997, and indeed, had been carried by several Canadian service providers prior to the launch of the domestic service.
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