truTV (originally Court TV), is a cable television channel in the United States. The network was established in 1991 as an all-news channel jointly owned by NBC, Liberty Media and Time Warner. However, after a series of sales, the network became solely owned by Time Warner, who runs it through the Turner Broadcasting cable outlet and slowly transformed it into a channel oriented towards reality programming. To go along with this change in focus Time Warner renamed the channel truTV on January 1, 2008. See the history section below for a more in depth discussion of the style and name change.
Court TV was founded in 1991 by Steven Brill as an attempt to give cable viewers a look inside courtrooms as well as provide legal related news. In its original form, the network only broadcast actual courtroom trial footage with some analysis by anchors but this slowly changed over time. In 1995, the network rocketed to popularity when it broadcast in-depth coverage of the O.J. Simpson murder trial. In 1997, Brill left the company and shortly after NBC sold its share of the company to the remaining owners.
Around the time of the NBC sale, Court TV began to branch out to acquired programming, including crime drama series like Homicide: Life on the Street. During this time, Court TV entertained several offers from interested buyers including Discovery Communications, who placed and retracted a bid in the same year. In 2003, Viacom expressed interest in absorbing Court TV into MTV Networks, but their offer was declined by both Liberty Media and Time Warner. On May 15th, 2006, Liberty Media sold its share of the network to Time Warner for $735 million, allowing Time Warner to pave the way for significant reformatting.
Although the network slowly gained more and more non-news programming since its debut, it wasn't until 2004 that is saw a significant rebranding. The network was divided into two halves, Court TV News and Court TV Primetime (often referred to by the network as "Seriously Entertaining"). Court TV News continued in the general spirit of the network in its inception, except with a great deal more pundit programs like Nancy Grace: Closing Arguments, which broadcasts between 9:00AM and 6:00PM. Court TV Primetime, on the other hand, dedicates its time to showing drama television series, films and documentaries which may only have a tangential connection to law.
In 2007, it was announced that the network would be refocused entirely as a reality-focused channel targeted at young men. This follows a similar revamps of TNN and G4, which some have seen as a successful attempt at revitalizing the flagging networks. The network will discontinue "gavel to gavel" broadcasts of high-profile criminal cases entirely and will instead focus on telling real-life stories as well as giving more time to lawyer pundits who are more well known for their abrasive personalities (i.e. Nancy Grace and Star Jones Reynolds) than their legal aptitude. The "Court TV" brand lived on until January 2008, when the network changed over to the new format and was renamed to truTV.
- Program Listing: A complete listing of shows aired on Court TV/truTV.