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TV Biz Vets Team to Launch Digital Justice Network with Gannett

A handful of TV biz vets have partnered with Gannett Broadcasting to launch a digital multicast channel devoted to law enforcement-related programming.

The Justice Network will launch as a digital channel on most Gannett-owned stations in January. Programming will include acquired true-crime series and other shows revolving around crime and legal matters. Among the shows set for launch are “Psychic Detectives,” “Missing Persons Unit” and “Alaska State Troopers.”

The channel’s management team includes former National Geographic Channels prexy Steve Schiffman, who is CEO; former Discovery Channel head John Ford, who is head of programming; former NBCUniversal syndie chief Barry Wallach, who is head of distribution. Lonnie Cooper, a founder of the African-American-centric Bounce TV digital channel, is the founder of Justice Network.

“Recognizing that by 2013, half of the top 50-rated prime shows on television were justice-oriented programming, our management team saw the need to satisfy America’s obsession with justice,” Schiffman said.

The channel will devote 90 seconds of PSA time each hour to spots aimed at finding fugitives, tracking down missing children and offering safety tips. Justice Network said it is working with such orgs as Crime Stoppers USA and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Gannett’s 46 TV stations cover nearly one-third of U.S. TV households.

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