‘Hatchett’ serves youth a slice of courtshow pie

Young judge, litigants on trial in Col TriStar skein

Columbia TriStar has a subpoena for youth now with the courtshow “Judge Hatchett,” which the studio will unveil at NATPE next week.

The half-hour series will feature Judge Glenda Hatchett, one of the youngest African-American women to preside over a state bench, in a daily series featuring younger litigants who have their day in court.

“Judge Hatchett” now joins “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus” and “Sheena: Queen of the Jungle” as new product from the studio for the National Assn. of Television Program Executives market in New Orleans.

“From the marketplace standpoint, we have always been interested in young adult programming,” said Barry Thurston, prexy of Columbia TriStar TV. “Although courtshows are extremely popular right now, these series have generally delivered an older demographic. What we have now is a personality that will attract that coveted age group.”

Hatchett served eight years as judge of the Fulton County (Ga.) Juvenile Court and has made frequent appearances on “Nightline,” “Good Morning America” “MacNeil/Lehrer” and CNN.

“What’s interesting about this is that, not only could it be a success in daytime, but because of its content and the success of other courtshows, the program offers stations flexibility,” said Steve Mosko, exec VP of sales. Mosko said that given Col TriStar’s success with transforming the talkshow genre into a younger-skewing vehicle with “Ricki Lake,” the company expects to do the same with Hatchett’s courter.

Series will compete with the likes of King World’s “Curtis Court,” Twentieth TV’s “Power of Attorney” and Warner Bros.’ “Moral Court” for room on the sked within the red-hot genre.

“Look at the number of talkshows on the air and their success over the years,” said Russ Krasnoff, exec VP of programming at Col TriStar TV. “And yet, there’s only five or six courtshows on the air. We stayed out of the genre for quite some time, on purpose until now, while we’ve taken everything we’ve learned from the past and applied those techniques to this show. Our biggest challenge was to find the person to put at the center of the show and, at last, we found her.”

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