truTV: New order in the Court

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Court TV on Wednesday unveiled its new name: truTV.

The new moniker is part of a larger rebranding of the network — which also will feature a new look, logo and expanded programming lineup — that is set to take effect Jan. 1. As part of the rebranding, the network has put four new unscripted projects into development.

Court TV, which was fully acquired last year by Turner Broadcasting System Inc., had announced in March that it would be taking on a new name and look that emphasizes reality over legal programming. In their announcement Wednesday, Turner Entertainment Networks president Steve Koonin and Court TV GM Marc Juris said that the new name reflects the network's lineup of "real-life" series and that truTV will target a group of viewers known as "real engagers," defined as people who want real-life, engaging programming told in the first person.

"Time magazine last year named 'you' as person of the year," Koonin said. "The first-person perspective is one of the guiding principles in differentiating our programming. Our new development and other shows take you right there. We're not trying to reinvent the wheel but broaden who we talk to and how we talk to them."

Juris added that the network did a great deal of research on the "real engagers."

"We tried to identify the biggest opportunity in terms of the aggregate audience," Juris said. "We're really in the sweet spot of 35- to 45-(year-olds) who are really interested in real-life stories and wanted to be taken to places they don't normally have access to. We want our programming to superserve that audience."

Koonin added that the network will be developing more scripted series following on the heels of its first scripted show, the John Waters-starring " 'Til Death Do Us Part," but he declined to be more specific.

In addition, the four new projects in development are (all are working titles):

"Neighbors 911," from Granada America and executive producer Curt Northrup ("Nanny 911"), features former Green Beret Myke Hawke trying to help people resolve their feuds.

"Ski Patrol," from Bunim/Murray Prods. ("The Real World"), follows the men and women who work in some of the most extreme environments in the country.

"Black Gold," from Original Prods.' Thom Beers ("Deadliest Catch"), follows the "wildcatters" in Texas — oil prospectors who race one another to tap into the last remaining U.S. reserves — as they risk their lives and money setting up rigs in an attempt to strike oil.

"Outlaw Chasers," from Tiger Aspect USA and executive producer Lawrence Cumbo ("Ms. Adventure"), stars Randy Hicks and Lanny Dean, described as a "renegade pair of storm junkies" who pursue tornadoes.

The new network name is the most recent step in what Court TV says is a nearly yearlong process of rebranding the network. Koonin said the company will launch a "monstrous" multimedia marketing campaign in the fourth quarter to get the word out to viewers about the rebranding.

Upon the rebranding, truTV will continue to feature a six-hour block of trial coverage each weekday morning. Nielsen Media Research measurement will start at 3 p.m. weekdays with the new live one-hour talk show "Star Jones."

In primetime, early fringe and late-night, truTV will continue to feature unscripted series that target the "real engagers" demo, it said, including "Speeders," "Forensic Files," "Haunting Evidence" and the upcoming series "Bounty Girls," "The Real Hustle" and "Most Daring."
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