What's In A Name? Court TV May Want to Investigate That


First, the Odyssey Channel morphed into family-friendly Hallmark. Then TNN dumped the National Network name for Spike TV, the network for guys. Now, Court TV has a new slogan, the "Investigation Channel." But don't add Court TV to any list of cable networks with an identity crisis, said CEO Henry Schleiff.

"They were networks whose programming wasn't working," he said of Odyssey and TNN. At Court TV, "we have programming that is clearly working and growing."

Court's ratings are on the rise, nudging past a 1.0 in prime time in recent weeks, and the channel is increasingly drawing younger viewers.

Still, Schleiff said, the Court TV name doesn't quite say enough anymore. "We have evolved to an emphasis on investigation," he explained. Court's current slogan, "Join the Investigation," pointed viewers there, but the new "Investigation Channel" catchphrase spells it out more clearly.

When Court TV showed a Kobe Bryant special recently, the network scored a 1.2 Nielsen rating—and of course, Court TV will want to Kobe Bryant's trial, if there is one.

But when Schleiff took over in 1997, Court was a low-rated net showing all trials, all the time. He added acquired series like Homicide to pump up prime and, more recently, moved to all original series in prime time.

The net will introduce the new slogan during its "Forensic Week" stunt Aug. 25. The next step, Schleiff said, could be trading the Court TV name for the Investigation Channel, a move that could happen in the next year or so. But he plans to keep Court TV alive, preferring a name like "The Investigation Channel, the home of Court TV."