Investigation Discovery is making the most of its vast library of programs about murder and mayhem with the launch of “True Crime Files” as a syndicated strip. Stations owned by Sinclair and Tribune are on board for the series, giving it clearance in more than 60% of the country.
The arrival of “True Crime Files” appears to draw a chalk line around Warner Bros. Domestic TV Distribution’s “Crime Watch Daily” syndicated strip, which has been on the bubble for a fourth season renewal. Tribune had been the core affiliate group for “Crime Watch” in major markets. Tribune’s new commitment to “True Crime Files” indicates that those key stations will not renew “Crime Watch,” although Warner Bros. may be able to line up new stations in Tribune markets for the 2018-19 season, given the lack of new shows for stations to chose from this year.
“True crime programming has never been more popular in the U.S. and as the top destination for the genre, we’re excited to expand Investigation Discovery’s deep library of compelling real-life stories to an even wider audience,” said Henry S. Schleiff, group president of Discovery Communications’ Investigation Discovery, Destination America and American Heroes Channel.
“True Crime Files” will draw on ID’s vault to deliver 260 hours of crime stories per season. The series is an amortization bonanza for Discovery given that it will make use of existing programs that have already aired on ID. “Crime Watch,” by contrast, was a more elaborate production tracking the latest headlines and sordid tales from around the country.
Syndication veterans Joe DiSalvo and Barry Wallach are steering the “True Crime Files” launch for Discovery. The strip is being offered to stations on an all-barter basis, which will also make it attractive to station buyers.
(Pictured: Investigation Discovery’s “Dating Game Killer”)