Court TV is back in session. The cable TV channel that once carried gavel-to-gavel live coverage of high-profile trials will be revived by a new owner, nearly a dozen years after it was shuttered by Turner Broadcasting.
Katz Networks, a division of E.W. Scripps Co., plans to revive Court TV as a new channel designed to be distributed via local TV stations as a multicast offering as well as by MVPDs and streaming platforms starting in May. Katz has acquired the Court TV moniker and some 100,000 hours of vintage Court TV programming from Turner, now owned by AT&T.
Vinnie Politan will return as a chief anchor of the channel, which promises 24/7 coverage of trials and legal issues. Also returning is producer John Alleva, a 15-year Court TV veteran who will oversee coverage with CNN alum Scott Tufts out of a newsroom under construction in Atlanta.
“Court TV was a top-20 cable network and at the height of its popularity when the network was taken off the air in 2008,” said Jonathan Katz, president-CEO of Katz Networks. “Today, while consumer interest in the real-life drama of true-crime programming is at an all-time high, there is no dedicated daily court coverage on television. We expect the new Court TV to fill that void on cable, satellite, over-the-air and over-the-top.”
Katz has lined up station affiliates for Court TV covering 50% of U.S. TV households, including Tribune, Scripps and Univision-owned stations. It will also have some distribution via MVPDs in those markets.
“Scripps and Katz look forward to reestablishing Court TV’s important legacy of providing Americans with transparency into the U.S. courts system and fulfilling our company mission of journalism and public service,” said Brian Lawlor, president of Local Media for Scripps. “We believe today’s TV audiences will be drawn to the network, leading to the same strong revenue growth and return on investment the other Katz networks have delivered.”
The brainchild of lawyer and media entrepreneur Steven Brill, Court TV went on the air in July 1991. Turner Broadcasting acquired an interest in the channel, and bought it out entirely by 2006. Court TV was remodeled into the reality-comedy focused TruTV on Jan. 1, 2008.
Katz Networks is home to a growing collection of channels aimed at niche demos include including Bounce, Grit, Escape, Laff and Brown Sugar.