Marc Juris, executive VP and general manager of Turner’s TruTV, delivered a ribald and self-deprecating performance at TruTV’s upfront presentation Tuesday at Skylight Soho. (Click here for complete upfront coverage.)The network chief, who is credited with the successful re-brand of TruTV from Court TV less than two years ago, noted that such re-branding is not easy — “unless your wife smashes your Escalade and you admit to sleeping with 262 women.”
TruTV is coming off its best ratings quarter yet. Juris noted that that growth has come among men, but also women 18-49.
“People ask, ‘Are you for men or for women?’ Which is really a hard question to answer,” said Juris, who is openly gay. “It took Ricky Martin 30 years to figure it out.”
TruTV, he explained “is for men and younger women. Kind of like the bar at the Four Seasons…and you know what I mean.”
Not all of Juris’ jokes landed, however. Noting that TruTV has 15 hours of primetime programming that experienced double-digit growth, he added that 15 “happens to be the age of Roman Polanski’s last girlfriend.”
That one elicited some audible groans from the audience.
“To me, March Madness used to be friends and family at Saks,” he said. “Now it takes on a whole new meaning.”
He also ticked off the 4 C’s of TruTV’s programming strategy: character, conflict, comic relief and consequence — the last C apparently signifying TruTV’s focus on shows with a purpose. In a quip that was an obvious swipe at Bravo’s Real Housewives franchise, among other programs, Juris added, “The only old, desperate cougar you will ever see representing our brand is me.”
Said Juris after the presentation: “I wrote it myself.”