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‘Investigation Channel’ New Court TV Tag

Aug 18, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Court TV today is introducing a new tagline the network hopes will convey its evolution from a telecaster of court trials to a channel whose focus is crime investigation.
Calling itself “The Investigation Channel,” the new tagline is part of a broader rebranding effort that puts more of an emphasis on original programming.
“This represents the natural next level or evolution of the Court TV network,” said Henry Schleiff, Court TV’s chairman. “Our research and the popularity of [the Court TV series] `Forensic Files’ shows that our audience has an endless fascination with mysteries and puzzle-solving.”
As part of the rebranding effort, Court TV will introduce several new series that have a crime investigation theme.
Among the new shows is “Smoking Gun TV,” which premieres Aug. 20 and is hosted by Mo Rocca. The series is based on the Web site thesmokinggun.com; “Fake-Out,” a game show that tests contestants’ skill at determining whether a person is lying or telling the truth; “Hollywood Justice,” which examines the lives of entertainers who have had brushes with the law; “Impossible Heists,” where teams compete by re-enacting some of history’s most difficult heists; and “Masterminds,” a half-hour series that looks at how spectacular crimes were perpetrated.
The new series and tagline come as Court TV tries to build on the momentum of its ratings growth, which since 1999 has surged 125 percent to nearly a 1 rating from a 0.4 rating.
That growth coincides with Court TV’s strategy of moving beyond a cable channel that telecasts court trials to becoming a destination for viewers interested in crime investigation.
Reducing its focus on trial coverage is in part necessary for the network. Court TV pioneered the concept of telecasting trials guaranteed its place in television history with its coverage of the O.J. Simpson murder trial in 1995. But the proliferation of cable news channels and their thirst for content has made trial coverage a hot ticket-particularly when the case is high-profile-and made the field more competitive.
Mr. Schleiff said Court TV’s evolution began in 1998, when the network stopped re-broadcasting the day’s trial coverage during prime time in favor of other kinds of programming. Then two years ago, the channel shifted its focus to investigative-style shows such as the popular “Forensic Files.”
“We are leaders in investigation, and our new tagline acknowledges what we have become in the mind of our viewers, advertisers and affiliates,” said Art Bell, Court TV’s president and chief operating officer.
Both Mr. Schleiff and Mr. Bell stressed that the expansion of the network into forensics and crime investigation will not detract from the network’s tradition since 1991 of covering court proceedings live.
“We’re not taking one thing away, but rather building,” Mr. Schleiff said. “We still have our core values in the sense of gavel-to-gavel coverage, trial proceedings and hearings.”