Katz Networks Plans to Relaunch Court TV

Katz Networks said it plans to relaunch crime and trial based Court TV as a 24-hour channel.

The channel already has distribution agreements with station group owners including Tribune, Scripps and Univision that will enable it to reach 50% of the U.S. at launch, with cable carriage representing 25% of cable homes.

Katz, a part of the E.W. Scripps Co., said it has acquired the intellectual property of Court TV, last owned by Time Warner, now part of AT&T. Katz said it has 100,000 hours of the Court TV library and that former Court TV anchor Vinnie Politan will serve as lead anchor.

Former Court TV and CNN producers John Alleva and Scott Tufts will be VPs and managing editors of the new Court TV.

Founded in 1991, the original Court TV found it hard to attract advertising to its crime-based format. It was converted in 2007 into what is now truTV.

It plans to re-launch in May 2019 and run 24-hours a day, seven days a week and be available over cable, satellite, over-the-air and over-the-top.

Related: A+E Invests in Abrams' Crime Streaming Business

Katz is best known for its digital broadcast channels such as Bounce, aimed at African Americans, and Laff, which focuses on comedy.

“Court TV was a top-20 cable network and at the height of its popularity when the network was taken off the air in 2008,” said Jonathan Katz, CEO of Katz Networks. “Today, while consumer interest in the real-life drama of true-crime programming is at an all-time high, there is no dedicated daily court coverage on television. We expect the new Court TV to fill that void on cable, satellite, over-the-air and over-the-top.”

Tribune Broadcasting will carry Court TV in 22 markets, including New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Philadelphia; Dallas-Fort Worth; Houston; Miami-Fort Lauderdale; Denver; St. Louis; Seattle-Tacoma, Washington; and Sacramento, Calif.

Eight Scripps markets will carry Court TV, including Tampa, Fla.; Detroit; Cleveland; Cincinnati; Las Vegas; Tulsa, Okla.; Green Bay, Wis. and Tucson, Ariz.

Entravision Communications’ 10 Court TV markets include Boston; Orlando, Fla. and Wichita, Kan.

Univision Communications will carry the network in San Antonio; Albuquerque, N.M. and Bakersfield, Calif.

Citadel Communications will air Court TV in Providence, R.I.

“Scripps and Katz look forward to re-establishing Court TV’s important legacy of providing Americans with transparency into the U.S. courts system and fulfilling our company mission of journalism and public service,” said Brian Lawlor, president of Local Media for Scripps. “We believe today’s TV audiences will be drawn to the network, leading to the same strong revenue growth and return on investment the other Katz networks have delivered.”

At its peak, Court TV was known for covering high profile trials, including those of O.J. Simpson, the Menendez brothers and Casey Anthony. 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.