Lauren Lake's Paternity Court
|Lauren Lake's Paternity Court|
|Also known as||'Paternity Court (2013–2014)|
|Presented by||Lauren Lake|
|Theme music composer||Devin Powers|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||366|
|Location(s)||Georgia Public Broadcasting Studios, Atlanta, Georgia|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Distributor||MGM Domestic Television Distribution|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||September 23, 2013– present|
Lauren Lake's Paternity Court is a syndicated nontraditional court show/tabloid talk show hybrid, bringing family lawyer and legal analyst Lauren Lake as she hears and rules on paternity cases and renders DNA test results.
The show is produced by 79th & York Entertainment and the re-launched Orion Television, and is distributed by MGM Domestic Television Distribution. Paternity Court is executive produced by David Armour.
According to John Bryan, president of MGM Domestic Television Distribution, the series is MGM's first first-run syndication series to come to the market in years (MGM generally syndicates past scripted output, along with past distribution of First Business). Reports of the series first emerged in December 2012. As early as December 2012, the court show was already sold in 75% of the country. Stations acquired the show on an all-barter basis with 3½ minutes of local and 3½ minutes of national advertising time in every episode. By August 2013, the show was sold in 92% of the country.
On January 28, 2014, Paternity Court was renewed for a second season, which added Lake's name directly to the title as Lauren Lake's Paternity Court. Production also moved from Los Angeles to the Georgia Public Broadcasting studios in Atlanta previously utilized by Swift Justice with Nancy Grace in the 2010-11 season; as with many Atlanta-based productions it also receives tax credits from the Georgia Film Office for producing the show in Georgia, and the GFO has an end credit for their support.
An article in Broadcasting & Cable talking about the conception of the show listed the paternity test-focused episodes of the daytime talk show Maury as a direct inspiration for Paternity Court, as Bryan said in the article that the high ratings for Maury among women 25-54 and the popularity of the court show genre made fusing the two concepts possible. Weigel Broadcasting president Neal Sabin, whose station group was among the first to take the program, thought it was a natural fit for the court show-heavy lineup on his stations, saying it was 'a little bit Maury and a little bit court-y'.
Producers of the series have argued at the same time that Paternity Court and Maury do contrast, as Paternity Court does not focus on the narrative of Maury in building tabloid drama solely from the "who's your daddy?" question posed by paternity tests and the issues of multiple partners possibly being so with only bare follow-ups by that show's staff, but instead uses the tests on their show to build long-term relationships in a healthy manner once those results are revealed. As reported in late 2012, court programming is the second highest-rated genre on daytime television. Bryan has stated the goal of Paternity Court is to reinvigorate the court show genre.
Lauren Lake's approach
Paternity Court provides guests with unspecified resources in or near their hometowns, regardless of the outcome of the DNA results. A psychiatrist, Carole Lieberman, is always on-site, and the show says Lauren Lake frequently follows up with guests. Lake utilizes her experience as a woman, a mother, a relationship expert, and an attorney to help the litigants through the problems they bring with them to court, and beyond.
Paternity Court is a half-hour hybrid of a talk show using the court show plaintiff/defendant format. Lake talks to the show's litigants and decides cases based upon the results of DNA tests. While the show's title is Paternity Court, it also looks into other situations using DNA verification, such as probate disputes over wills, which are litigated under a binding arbitration arrangement.
In late January 2013, creator David Armour revealed several details of the MGM conflict-resolution strip with Lauren Lake:
- “We’re not talking about someone who broke another person’s sunglasses; these are life-altering decisions. There is a beginning, middle and end to each story. But then there’s what happens after the paternity test results. We don’t take any of this lightly. There is a responsible side to the show where we help families get on the right path.”
- The program "plans to bring something ... interesting but with a truly positive resolution.”
- Most episodes end with Lake revealing the results of a paternity test, but this doesn't happen in every episode. The show covers a wide range of cases.
- Armour has stated that, "We want to dig into these stories much deeper than any other court show does. We’re dealing with substantial issues. On this show, we’re dealing with resolutions about how families can move forward now that they have [paternity test] results.”
Unlike most present-day court shows which typically have two cases in each episode, Paternity Court only focuses on one case per episode, though a second case can make an uncommon appearance. Lake takes time before and after the results to speak with her litigants.
Original plans for Paternity Court were to film the series from a real-life courtroom, though this later changed to a traditional studio setting. The first season of the show was taped from Sunset Bronson Studios in Los Angeles, next to the Judge Judy set, leasing over the space previously used for Big Ticket Television's Judge Joe Brown until its 2013 cancellation. Production moved to Atlanta beginning with season 2 as detailed above.
- Winston, Oretha (July 23, 2013). "Move Over Maury....Here’s Paternity Court". elev8. Retrieved September 15, 2013.
- "Exclusive: MGM to Launch 'Paternity Court' This Fall - December 12, 2012 22:52:29 | Broadcasting & Cable". Broadcastingcable.com. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
- "DNA Testing Puts New Spin On Syndication". TVNewsCheck.com. December 12, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
- "‘Paternity Court’ Clearances Hit 92%". TVNewsCheck.com. Retrieved August 16, 2013.
- "Paternity Court Premieres September 23rd on San Diego 6 the CW". YouTube. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
- "Lauren Lake (LaurenLLake) on Twitter". Twitter.com. Retrieved June 18, 2013.
- Albiniak, Paige (January 28, 2014). "NATPE: 'Paternity Court' Renewed for Season Two". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media. Retrieved January 28, 2014.
- Alex Ben Block (July 30, 2014). "'Paternity Court' Tweaks Name for Second Season". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 30, 2014.
- "Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios Launches Legal Digital Network". The Hollywood Reporter. November 17, 2011. Retrieved December 16, 2012.
- Jeff John Roberts. "‘Paternity Court’ Moves Toward Due Date". TVNewsCheck.com. Retrieved January 24, 2013.