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Court TV To Ditch Name, Change Programming in Rebrand - Broadcasting & Cable

Court TV To Ditch Name, Change Programming in Rebrand

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Court TV is changing its name, look and logo as part of a network overhaul planned for later this year.

The network, acquired by Time Warner and folded into its Turner division during 2006  , will no longer be called Court TV as of Jan. 1, 2008, and will revamp its daytime trial coverage and add in prime several new reality series (or, as the network and others, like A&E, prefer to call them, "real-life series.")

The goal is to target a psychographic the network is calling "Real Engagers," viewers who like watching shows about "real people," especially action stories.

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 shrink to one and will run at 3, followed by the yet-unnamed Jones show  at 4. Trial coverage will move to the network's broadband Website during the afternoon.

The network is developing several new reality shows to program at night. Their subjects include police interrogations (The Room), con artists (The Real Hustle) and high-end security experts (Tiger Team).

Also in development are quarterly specials from Court TV-owned Website thesmokinggun.com. The first, a countdown called The Dumbest Criminals in the World, is currently in production.

Court has rebranded itself several times before, most recently dividing its programming into trial coverage during the day and entertainment programming at night .

Previously under Henry Schleiff, who moved to head up Hallmark Channel after the Turner acquisition, Court TV is now overseen by Steve Koonin, the Turner Entertainment Networks president who became a branding whiz at Coca-Cola.

The network's recent research, which in part prompted the upcoming changes, shows the fringe, primetime and late-night audience is male and loves real people, situations and stories, especially action-focused stories.

Court has earned solid ratings lately with its primetime reality block "RED" or "Real. Exciting. Dramatic."

"We were in a unique situation where the programming outgrew the brand, and now we are creating a brand that reflects our already successful programming," says Court TV General Manager Marc Juris.

The changes were expected to be announced this morning by Koonin, Juris and Court TV Executive VP of Daytime Marlene Dann.

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