Thanks to Lifetime, Court TV’s documentary special on the Rodney King trial will get its first wide exposure in the L.A. area, next Jan. 17 at 10 a.m.

The program will be included as part of Lifetime’s salute to programs nominated for the CableAce Awards.

“California V. Powell: What the Jury Saw” tracks the volatile and controversial courtroom case of the four officers accused of beating motorist Rodney King.

The program looks at the case through the eyes of the jury, who heard the entire testimony and saw much more than most Americans did of the video footage, shot by amateur George Holliday, that was used as evidence against the officers.

While the program grabbed national attention when Court TV first aired it, few L.A. viewers were able to see the special, since Court TV is not widely distributed in the Los Angeles marketplace.

However, with Lifetime airing the Ace-nominated programs, virtually all L.A. cable homes will be able to view the docu.

“With all the controversy about this trial, most Los Angeles-area cable subscribers will now have the opportunity to see what the jury saw,” Court TV president Steven Brill said.

“As we all know, what took place in Simi Valley is much more complicated than the 10 or 11-second snippet of an 81-second videotape that most Americans saw.”

“California V. Powell” uses courtroom footage recorded during Court TV’s gavel-to-gavel coverage of the trial, as well as explanations of the law, rules of evidence and procedural technicalities. As usual, the special also includes expert commentary and analysis of the prosecution and defense strategies.

“Although a 90-minute condensation of the trial is not the same as seeing the whole 150-hour trial,” Brill explained, “it should go a long way toward giving viewers a fuller understanding of the evidence presented to the jury by both sides.”

As a buildup to its prime time showing of the Jan. 17 CableAce awards presentation, Lifetime is airing nominees all that weekend.

In addition to cable airings of “California V. Powell,” the special is also available on videocassette.

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