Court TV Relaunches Today

By A.J. Katz Comment

Court TV is back on the TV docket, starting today.

After more than a decade off the air, the network returns six months after being purchased by The E.W. Scripps-owned broadcast company Katz Networks (no relation).

Katz Networks bought the brand’s trademark, website and 100,000 hours of original content it acquired from Turner Broadcasting; and announced back in January that former HLN host, CNN and MSNBC legal analyst Seema Iyer and DKA-TV legal editor and anchor Julie Grant, and Yodit Tewolde, will join Vinnie Politan at the Court TV anchor desk.

Politian, one of the network’s original anchors, will anchor prime time coverage. In addition to his work at Court TV, Politan has been hosting legal and news programs on HLN, Sirius XM and, most recently, for the NBC affiliate in Atlanta.

“There should be a camera in every courtroom,” Politan told the AP. “These are public courtrooms, it’s our government, no judge or lawyer owns the court.”

Former Court TV and CNN producers John Alleva and Scott Tufts have joined as vice presidents and managing editors.

According to the AP, the network’s first live coverage inside a courtroom is the Covington, Georgia, trial of parents charged with the murder of their newborn baby after they had reported him missing in 2017.

Adweek’s Sara Jerde reported back in December that the new Court TV “will run 24 hours a day, with coverage and analysis from trials, every day of the week and will be available for cable, satellite, over-the-air and over-the-top carriage.”

Court TV has secured over-the-air agreements with Tribune (Nexstar Media), Scripps and Univision. Court TV urges their fans to call their TV providers to demand that they carry the network.

Court TV made its mark first with wall-to-wall coverage of the Menendez Brothers trials in 1994, and later with the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995, as well as Scott Peterson and the Anna Nicole Smith trials. The network boasts alums such as Savannah Guthrie, Greta Van Susteren, and of course, Nancy Grace.

The original Court TV was founded by Steve Brill and launched in 1991. It was acquired by Turner in 2006 and re-branded as truTV two years later.

Court TV will be entering a very competitive cable news landscape, far more competitive than a decade ago. On the crime news front, it’s going up against Law&Crime Network, a founded by ABC News chief legal analyst, former Court TV personality, and veteran TV newser Dan Abrams.

Law&Crime launched in 2017, and boasts talent including former ABC investigative reporter Brian Ross, former Fox News host and attorney Lis Wiehl, Making a Murderer reporter and attorney Aaron Keller. The outlet airs nine hours of daily live trial coverage, in-studio analysis of the day’s top crime and legal stories, an investigative news show and a daily wrap show