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Marianne Paskowski

Court TV Gets New Name: truTV

July 11, 2007 1:22 PM

Can’t say I’m nuts about Court TV’s new moniker, but apparently the truTV (and that is not a typo) handle did resonate with thousands of people in research studies, said Turner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin. But I do admire the arduous year-long re-branding effort to further morph the channel from trial coverage to series and other non-courtroom-related programs, without throwing the baby out with the bath water, the actual trials.

Come Jan. 1, 2008, the new name takes hold, along with edgy sounding, real life programs, not necessarily about crime, in development. Among the changes, trial coverage will end at 3 p.m, leading into the new talk show “Star Jones” occupying that time slot. Clearly, the old name doesn’t fit the new network which is becoming something else.

Koonin is apparently a little ticked off with me for not cottoning to the new name at all. But do you?


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Comments (11)

Jeff Mulligan:


Actually, I think there's something refreshingly accurate about the new truTV moniker, in this age of hoked up phony "reality TV." Real trials, real justice, real lessons for viewers about our court systems.

But then, more afternoon talk? Star Jones? And what will they try in prime time? Getting beyond the standard stick-with-the-herd programming mentality to present something "true" will be a real challenge.


Marianne Paskowski:


Don't think you get it. Court is cutting courtroom trials. The new stuff in development, well, I don't know if it's any more real than any other reality series out there. Think prime-time is a bit of a jump ball for truTV, but we shall see what the net comes up with, lots in development.



Yo, Blondie --

I agree; truTV is a pretty wimpy name. A real differentiator, it is?

Plenty of "true" on Animal Planet, National Geo, History Channel, ESPN, Discovery, TLC snd other cable webs. Even QVC ranks 100% on "true" (as long as they deliver the merchandise). And most cable news isn't "true"?

"True" apparently is an attempt to contrast the network against broadcast prime-time drivel. Cable viewers know where to find the true "true." If they want fantasy on cable, they always have Comedy Central and Fox News Channel.

Cruisin not bruisin


As if much programming weren't confusing enough for audiences, a perfectly respectable and descriptive network name gets traded for some generic label signifying nothing except a third-grade mastery of capitalization.

I love surfing cable with the expectation that Sci-Fi Channel, History Channel, The Learning Channel, National Geographic, the Food Channel, Playboy Channel and Animal Planet, to mention a few, pretty much deliver to specialized interests what their names promise.

Maybe the trial coverage on truTV will live up to the name, but what's on tap for the rest of the schedule? Competing with C-SPAN by covering live ever more obscure congressional subcommittees?

Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Cruiser,

Oh my, for once we agree. I think so many of the cable nets are big blurs. I once heard from someone in the biz who should have known better but insisted that "TheDog Whisperer" was airing on Discovery.

Tres wrong, it's on Nat Geo.


Marianne Paskowski:

Hi Coax Cutie,

My marketing maven friends today were aghast about the new name, not the need to change it. Marketing a cable brand is tough. Do you market the net or the show. The answer is both, and it's a delicate balancing act, all agree.

Thanks for your post,

Mr. Abernathy:

Dear Ms. Paskowski:

We often like to run statistical models at The Institute when companies issue non-sensical announcements, hoping, for our amusement, to discern the real reasons for the pronunciamentos.

The CourtTV/truTV case was an easy one to run through our computers. Exponentiated discriminant analyses of log-correlated viewer demographics strongly suggest (at better than the .001 level of significance!) that the subliminal arousal of need-for-justice instincts among viewers of CNN's Nancy Grace, MSNBC's low-budget prison exposes, etc. has siphoned away the "crime and crackpot"-loving audience CourtTV once enjoyed.

We ran a speculative model of the current ratings data longitudinally against deconstructed audience psychographic trends (seasonally adjusted) and infer that truTV, as a name, will in time resonate best with audiences convinced of the literal truth of the Bible.

Programs about the creation of Earth 6,000 years ago and other "truths" will play best on the truTV network. Responsive audiences now have little programming they can choose to reinforce those beliefs.

We also infer from the data that an Islamic version might have significant appeal internationally with programs such as "Jihad Jingles," "Welcome Back Koran" and the immensely popular "This Was Your Life."

Marianne Paskowski:

Dear Mr. Abernathy,

Thanks again for sharing whatever it is you shared. I'm just a blogger, but I'm sure some of my readers will glimmer great insights from your analysis.

However, I disagree with the outcome of your research. But you are loosening up a little here, about your references to "Jihad Jingles." Surely you were joking. I don't get researchers' jokes.

But that's OK. BTW, I did not see that show in the newly rebranded truTV, development slate. Hope they are reading. You might be on to something.

Ms. Paskowski


The real tragedy is not the name issue. It is the failure to see the value of Court TV from its inception.
Steven Brill and Steve Ross were not the Turner exec types. They actually believed you could offer viewers something of value, shine a light on America's courts, and change our view of the legal process.
Guess what? Court TV did do that over 16 years. In its first 18 months it covered 144 trials.
Now what,lawyers and their tats?
It should be called TruCrap.

Marianne Paskowski:


Good point, but this is a business decision. Lots of advertisers were not on board, largely direct response ads. Actually, the announcement probably came out now because the cable upfront is still going on.

Thanks for your post,


'not reality, actuality'? in denial. "shocking" this, "dumbest" that....complete w/ one-liner
commentary from unfunny comedians...sqiurrelly and
watered down is what it is. a clone of "america's
funniest home videos"

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