Court TV plans rebrand for 2008

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NEW YORK -- Court TV will soon have a new name and look that emphasizes reality rather than legality.

Turner Broadcasting System Inc. said Tuesday that it would rebrand the network, which it fully acquired in 2006 and absorbed into the unit that also runs TBS and TNT. Executives at an upfront-style presentation at the Museum of Modern Art weren't willing to unveil the network's new name but promised more details by the late summer.

The relaunch will occur on Jan. 1, 2008.

Execs say the reason for the rebranding is simple enough: For years, since the network built its "CrimeTime Primetime" apart from the trial coverage during the daytime, Court TV has struggled to make the two ends meet cohesively.

"The Court TV brand does not accurately represent" what the network is in primetime, said Mark Juris, Court TV's general manager.

Juris said the brand has to catch up to the programming and promised that it would be an evolution and not a revolution on the channel. He said that the new channel will focus on what he called real-life stories and people aimed at a new demographic term: "real engagers," defined as people who wanted real-life, engaging programming told in the first person.

Executives said after the presentation that the daytime programming -- until 3 p.m. ET -- would remain trial coverage. But then Court TV would move to a two-hour talk show block anchored by Nancy Grace for one hour and Star Jones Reynolds for another.

Also unveiled Tuesday were several series already in production, including "Bounty Girls," about a group of Florida female bounty hunters; "The Real Hustle," about three con artists who target New Yorkers with their tricks; and "Most Daring," from Bruce Nash/Nash Entertainment, the company that brought Court TV's "Most Shocking." It announced quarterly specials from Turner's TheSmokingGun.com titled "The Smoking Gun Presents: The Dumbest Criminals in the World."

In development are several other series, including "Tiger Team," about a group of people who are hired by big business and government to test security systems; "The Room," about how police officers interrogate suspects; and "Bouncin' With Tiny Lister," which shows the nightclub scene through the eyes of bouncers.
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