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Court TV announces plans to rebrand to reality TV format by 2008

By Christopher Rocchio, 03/14/2007 

Similar to what other cable networks like Bravo, VH1, A&E, and E! have done in recent years, Court TV has announced that it plans to undergo a "major branding initiative" that will shift its programming focus to "emphasizing real-life stories." 

Marc Juris, Court TV's general manager, said the decision to refocus on reality programming was done to target the "highly coveted psychographic" known as "Real Engagers."

"We have identified a very strong audience segment driving our prime-time success, an audience we call Real Engagers," said Juris.  "These viewers watch a tremendous amount of television and love real-life action programming, real-life emotion and access to places they cant normally go. Now that we have identified our target audience, we can evolve our programming to serve those viewers, while also capturing the unrealized potential of our new consumer brand."

The branding initiative comes on the heels of recent Court TV research that determined the network's line-up attracts an audience that "loves programming with real people, real-life situations and true stories." According to a Broadcasting & Cable report, Court TV's  "RED"  -- "Real. Exciting. Dramatic." -- primetime reality programming block has drawn solid ratings lately and is serving as the driver for the network's rebranding.

"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," Juris told Broadcasting & Cable.

As part of its rebranding announcement, Court TV also announced some several upcoming series that will reflect the new network brand.  A new season of Beach Patrol: Hawaii, which follows lifeguards from the Honolulu Ocean Safety and Lifeguard Services unit and features daring rescues on beautiful beaches, is scheduled to premiere this summer.  In addition, Bounty Girls, a new series that will chronicle the adventures of the female bounty-hunting team at Sunshine State Bail Bonds in Florida, will also premiere in 2007.

Other new series currently in production or development by Court TV include:  The Smoking Gun Presents: The Dumbest Criminals in the World, the first in a series of quarterly specials that will count down the 20 dumbest criminals caught in the worst possible situations; The Real Hustle, which follows a trio of tricksters as they try to hustle people on the streets of New York; Most Daring, which will show viewers stories of exciting rescue missions; Tiger Team, which will chronicle the tactics used by a group of professionals who test government and business security vulnerabilities; and The Room, where real cops will interrogate real suspects.

Additionally, Court TV announced a new daytime line-up that will begin at 9AM with the network's courtroom coverage.  That coverage will continue at 3PM on Court TV's website, creating an opening for a new two-hour afternoon network broadcast block that will feature Nancy Grace: Closing Arguments and the recently announced new series featuring former The View co-host Star Jones.

"Within the network's new branded environment, our successful daytime line-up of legal coverage will be getting a make-over," said Court TV daytime executive vice president Marlene Dann.  "With a revamped daytime schedule, we can create appointment viewing for our series with Star Jones and Nancy Grace, while also expanding the network's award-winning courtroom coverage onto broadband."

The initiative will also include a new name and logo for Court TV, and is slated to launch in January 2008.

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