|Launched||January 1, 2006
August 15, 2011 (as Cloo)
February 1, 2017 (as online channel)
|Closed||August 15, 2011
February 1, 2017 (as Cloo)
|Owned by||NBCUniversal Cable (NBCUniversal)|
|Formerly called||Sleuth (2006–2011)|
Cloo (stylized as cloo) was an American digital cable television channel with programming originally dedicated to the crime and mystery genres, though it often fell out of this format in its later years and was used as an example of channel drift and superfluous channel bundling, presenting series easily found through other venues. The network was owned and operated by NBCUniversal.
As of February 2015, approximately 25,495,000 American households (21.9% of households with television) received Cloo, though this declined with later removals by several cable services as carriage agreements expired.
Cloo focused on mystery entertainment, with the majority of the channel's programming sourced from fellow Comcast networks such as NBC and USA Network. As of the fall of 2016 the network's schedule was made up mostly of repeats of current USA Network series, and marathons of acquired series from the Law and Order, NCIS and CSI franchises, along with the original MacGyver and House. Films from the NBCUniversal library or acquired as part of USA Network's film rights purchases were also part of the schedule, meaning films such as Enchanted, The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Bee Movie with nothing to do with crimes or mysteries aired on the network.
On August 15, 2011 Cloo was rebranded from its former name of Sleuth, in order for NBCU to be able to trademark and own the name, as the word "clue" itself is too common a name to be trademarkable and the commonness of both "sleuth" and "clue" would not work for search engine optimization. In addition, the different spelling averted any confusion with Hasbro's board game Clue.
Carriage decline and closure
On August 10, 2013, Cloo was dropped by Dish Network, which cited that most of the network's rerun-centric programming was duplicative of that available on other NBCUniversal networks, streaming services, and the broadcast Ion Television network. A year later on August 18, 2014, it was removed from Verizon FIOS, also for the same reason.
Charter's Spectrum services (Charter, Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable) effectively ended the network's life in February 2017, as with Esquire Network (another Comcast/NBCU network moving to an Internet-only model in the summer of 2017), when it refused to continue their carriage of the network within their new carriage agreement with NBCUniversal, removing around 2/3rds of the network's homes (bringing it down to 8.5 million households), and NBCU already had been looking to remove extraneous networks without original programming since the summer of 2016, criteria both Cloo and Esquire fell into. In the end, however, industry media had little to no notice of the closure, and only cable providers learned of its demise in advance on March 31 as of 5:59 a.m. ET from Comcast, due to the small amount of time which passed between Charter's settlement of their new NBCUniversal carriage agreement and the network's closure. Because the network was effectively automated with little to no promotions to maintain, no employees were affected by the network's closure.
The same morning, its social media presences were removed (the network's Facebook had not been updated since September 2015), and the website redirected to the USA Network site without any notice. The network's last programming day consisted of a full-series marathon of Syfy's Continuum, a final sign of its later channel drift. Following the end credits, a slide was shown, with the Cloo logo and the words "GOOD NIGHT!" underneath, along with "Thank you for watching Cloo", the NBC Universal logo, and the name of the satellite that provided Cloo's broadcast (AMC 10, Transponder 7) in between 2 NBC logos, along with the common NBC off-air audio test using the network's trademark chimes. The end of Cloo was coincidental with another Comcast announcement that the female-focused Oxygen would switch fully to a true crime focus the same day within the coming months.
On September 17, 2011 Cloo premiered two original series, which were not renewed after their first seasons.
- Dateline on Cloo, featuring repurposed Dateline NBC episodes focused on true-crime stories.
- Killer Instinct, a 13-part true-crime series featuring criminal profiler Mark Safarik.
The channel originally featured crime and mystery programming from NBCUniversal's extensive library of feature films, classic television shows, reality series and documentaries. Programming initially included popular and cult television series like Simon & Simon, Miami Vice, The A-Team, Dragnet (1967–70 and 2003 versions), Knight Rider, The Equalizer, Homicide: Life on the Street, JAG, Profiler, Magnum, P.I., The Rockford Files, The Burning Zone and more recent canceled series like EZ Streets, Karen Sisco, and Deadline, Conviction, and Medical Investigation. Much of this older programming eventually migrated to sister digital subchannel network Cozi TV.
On February 25, 2007, the channel aired a fourteen-hour movie marathon entitled "Chiller On Sleuth" to promote the launch of Chiller, a sister horror and suspense programming that launched four days later on March 1.
In January 2009, all shows from the lineup were removed and replaced with mainly NBCUniversal-produced, USA Network original shows, Monk and In Plain Sight to its lineup, running marathons of each program's episodes. NCIS was added to the channel's lineup, as well as two Canadian series, Da Vinci's Inquest and Cold Squad, which were barter syndication series which were mainly prevalent on low-tier local television stations and digital subchannel networks like RTN. The Law & Order franchise also joined the channel. It also aired another Canadian series, The Eleventh Hour. However, it was renamed Bury the Lead, to differentiate it from the since-canceled CBS series of the same name.
Besides the above mentioned series and franchises, various other series aired from the NBCUniversal library with rights through USA Network aired on Cloo, along with Walker, Texas Ranger before its 2015 departure to Grit and INSP. In September 2014, the rights to COPS previously held by now-defunct sister network G4 moved over to Cloo until new episode partner Spike took all control of the cable syndication rights of COPS at the start of 2016.
- Cozi TV, where much of the network's older programming has migrated to
- Seidman, Robert (February 22, 2015). "List of how many homes each cable network is in as of February 2015". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 10, 2015.
- "NBCUniversal will discontinue the Cloo network 2/1/2017". Beld.net. Retrieved January 29, 2017.
- Kellor, Missy (January 31, 2017). "INSP coming to TDS TV, Cloo shutting down". TDS Telecom. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
- "Channel Removal". RC Technologies. January 26, 2017. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
- Schneider, Michael (1 February 2017). "NBCUniversal Shuts Down Crime Drama Channel 'Cloo' After 10 Years". IndieWire. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
- Exclusive: Sleuth Gets A New Name: Meet Cloo, TV Guide, April 7, 2011
- Exclusive: Newly Rebranded Cloo TV Picks Up First Original Series TV Guide July 15, 2011
- "Dish Network Facebook page response: "...We removed Cloo because most of the content they offered was available on other stations."". Facebook. 12 August 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- Lazarus, David (28 August 2014). "Why isn't your pay-TV bill reduced when a channel is removed?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 July 2015.
- Crupi, Anthony (27 February 2017). "Small Change: Why Niche Cable Nets Are on Their Last Legs | Media - AdAge". Advertising Age. Retrieved 27 February 2017.
- Holloway, Daniel (January 25, 2017). "Could End of NBCU's Esquire Network Foretell More Cable Culling?". Variety. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
- Littleton, Cynthia (August 18, 2016). "Participant's Pivot: Demise Reflects Niche Cable's Diminished Fortunes". Variety. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
- Cloo has Ceased Operations on February 1, 2017 - YouTube