Court TV has cancelled legal news show Catherine Crier Live after a seven-year run. The star's contract was up and the network wants to fill more of its schedule with the entertainment shows it programs in prime. Staffers were informed today at a 3:00 p.m. meeting.
The show, which premiered in January 2000, clashes with Court's new stepped-up focus on unscripted drama. In March, Court announced it will ditch its name and change its programming under a rebrand slated to take effect Jan. 1, 2008.
The rebrand is designed to target a psychographic the network is calling "Real Engagers," who like action-based reality shows. Those shows, and not Court's daytime trial coverage, have raised the network's profile with viewers and pushed it into the top ten cable rankings, and that's not reflected in the Court TV moniker, executives have said.
Crier, who joined Court TV in 1999 and has been a marquee talent for the network, will leave her post as Executive Editor, Legal News Specials. At 5 p.m. where her show had run, the network is thinking of scheduling reruns of its hit reality series Psychic Detectives.
Turner-owned Court averaged 1.2 million total viewers in prime during first quarter, up 31% from last year, according to Nielsen Media Research. The network was up 30% during the day to an average 665,000 viewers. Crier's show drew 541,000 total viewers to its top showing last week.
Before Live, Crier hosted Crier Today for Court TV and has also anchored its now-defunct primetime series The System and various specials. Before Court, she anchored live interview show The Crier Report for Fox News and prior to that worked at ABC News as a correspondent and substitute anchor for Peter Jennings at World News Tonight, among other roles.
Also under the rebrand, daytime programming will be redone and will lead into a 3-5 p.m. block with talk shows hosted by Nancy Grace and Star Jones. Grace's Closing Arguments, currently two hours, will switch to one and will run at 3, followed by the yet-unnamed Jones show at 4 p.m. Trial coverage will move to the network's broadband Website during the afternoon.
"As part of Court TV’s re-branding strategy, we have decided not to renew the Catherine Crier Live show," the network said in a statement. "The 5-6 p.m. hour is slated to feature the type of real-life stories that have given our prime-time line-up such strong ratings momentum."