Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust

I knew the news a while back that Court TV was now under the thumbs of the folks who brought you TBS and TNT wasn't exactly good. I knew it was even worse than I first suspected when its position on the DirecTV line-up moved between those two networks, and now, with the unveiling of the new name of the network, it's possibly even worse than I suspected.

If I may quote TV Week, as follows:

July 11, 2007
Court TV Changes Name to truTV
Jon Lafayette
Turner Broadcasting has picked truTV as the new name for Court TV.
Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks, said the name change reflects the network’s programming, which brings exciting, real-life stories to viewers.
The network also said it put four new projects into development in support of the new brand, including shows from Granada Television, producer of “Nanny 911”; Original Productions, co-producer of “Deadliest Catch”; Bunim/Murray Productions, creators of “The Real World”; and Tiger Aspect USA, producer of “Ms. Adventure.”
The new series follow neighbors feuding, the ski patrol and Texas oil wildcatters, all a far cry from the more cerebral legal and forensic fare for which Court TV has been known.
"The success of the Turner Entertainment Networks can be attributed in a big way to the fact that we have built strong brands that resonate with viewers," said Koonin. "With this new name, truTV joins its sister networks TNT, TBS and TCM in establishing itself a solid, identifiable brand, paving the way for continued growth."
The new name is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1.

Well, there goes the neighborhood. There has been a gradual slide into inanity on Court TV for a while now, with psychic investigator shows popping up more often than anything else, it seems. Is Dominick Dunne still even on the network? Maybe his show wasn't exactly hard news, but he was an urbane and intelligent host presence and at least it wasn't more of the same crappy reality programming which can now be found anywhere and everywhere on TV. (I thought I recently read that reality programming was starting to tank a bit -- I live in hope.) If the folks at Court TV thought their transition was going to be any less jarring, well, they don't know those folks at Turner. Good luck to them -- the new truTVers -- and my condolences.

(And may I also take this opportunity to correct the notion that it's their brands that are keeping TNT and TBS at the top of the ratings. Why then, would you spend tons of dough on acquiring all the biggest titles and series, or making your own? It's the programming, stupid; people watch shows, not brands, although don't expect a marketing person to ever admit that. Or don't watch shows, as in the case of TNT's new Heartland series with Treat Williams. Guess that makes the brand sick, not the show, right? Sure it does...)

1 comment:

Jane said...

Excellent observation on the lowest common denominator "reality" ghetto that TV has become. Thank heaven's for DVR, so one can trim the wheat from the chaff. I will say, however, that Turner Classic Movies got it right Monday night with the delightful "Spielberg on Spielberg". It was the man himself, a single camera and clip after magnificent clip from every one of his movies, including a couple of fabulous Super 8's that he had made as a child. When you think about his vast body of work...from Jaws to Close Encounters, ET and Indiana Jones, Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, War of the Worlds. And even those few that were not box office bazookas, but which I loved to death anyway; Minority Report and The Terminal. This was a great tribute to my favorite director, and commercial free at that. I would imagine it is being repeated and feature in TCM on Demand, so take the time to look for this gem.