Scrappy little Court TV had more on the docket at this year's Television Critics Association tour than the Turner musclenets. CNN bowed out. TNT pitched a Christmas movie. Court TV (which manages to bark every new episode of Crime Stories
as a landmark event) rolled out new series, specials and documentaries and its first-ever original-movie franchise.
Court will spend $3 million to $5 million per film-about the amount spent on the original movies that power Lifetime in prime time. Court films will be based on real crimes. The first, The Amy Pofahl Story, will take up the case of a woman sentenced to 24 years without possibility of parole under the mandatory-minimum-sentencing laws. The movie grew out of Court's 2000 documentary on Pofahl. The Amy Pofahl Story
will be produced by Hearst Entertainment and will air in the third quarter.
Beginning Feb. 16 at 5 p.m., Court adds Hollywood at Large, a new weekly half-hour series combining the characteristics of Entertainment Tonight
with legal analysis.
Each episode of Large
will review all things crime and justice in movies, books and TV shows for that week, plus the latest lawsuits, contracts, deals and "celebrity clashes with the law," à la Robert Downey Jr.
Court meets VH1 in its latest documentary, The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll. Scheduled for a June 11 premiere at 10 p.m., Secret History
is a one-hour examination of crimes in the rock-music industry hosted by none other than Gene Simmons, one of the members of the '70s glam/spectacle band Kiss. Simmons, who helped found Kiss 28 years ago, was a consultant on the project. Court's legal analyst will pull double duty with Catherine Crier Live. She already does Crier Today, her legal-eagle show, and occasionally serves as host on Crime Stories
and Court specials. In Crier Live, she'll recap the day's legal events in the 5 p.m. time slot Monday through Thursday, beginning Feb. 12.
On June 5, Court will air its third special co-produced with ABC. In Court TV's Safety Challenge 2001, ABC News anchor Jack Ford will walk viewers through a series of reenacted crimes as a National Crime Prevention Test. Marla Hanson, an actress/model who survived a vicious knife attack in the mid '80s, will tell her story and offer information on victims' rights. Ladies Home Journal
will be Court TV's print partner and run a feature on the show in its June issue.
Brooklyn North Homicide Squad
returns Sunday, April 8, at 6 p.m. with three previously aired episodes followed by the final two, both premieres. Brooklyn North
is Court's answer to reality TV. The show follows real detectives investigating a real serial killer dubbed the Brooklyn Strangler. The first installment earned a 1.1 rating/486,000 households, the highest Tuesday-night rating since the network's re-launch in January 1999. Court will eventually extend the franchise to other cooperating homicide divisions.