Court TV to change name as part of rebranding push

ATLANTA: Court TV, the network long associated with the OJ Simpson trial and other sensational crime programming, is rebranding and changing its name in 2008 in an effort to better align its branding with its expanded programming.

ATLANTA: Court TV, the network long associated with the OJ Simpson trial and other sensational crime programming, is rebranding and changing its name in 2008 in an effort to better align its branding with its expanded programming. Come January 1, the Turner-owned network will be dubbed "truTV," and sport the tagline "Not reality. Actuality."

The plan to rebrand was initially announced at the "upfronts" last March, and the name and tagline were announced over the next several months.

Karen Cassell, Turner's SVP of PR, notes that fellow Turner networks TNT and TBS also underwent recent rebranding campaigns to better focus on their core audiences, although neither was as involved as the current project.

"Court[TV] was the complete opposite," Cassell said. "The name 'Court' itself didn't represent any of the prime time programming that we had...By changing the name to reflect the programming, your hope is to get new consideration from viewers that always thought you were something you weren't."

The new name was chosen after months of research from both internal and external branding experts, including agencies that specialize in naming. The PR for the campaign has been entirely handled in house.

Court TV was scheduled to launch a formal rebranding campaign on December 14, with a marketing campaign targeting consumers, trade press, and the general-interest media.

"Most of the trade press [has] already covered it, and now we're really into the consumer press, which will be layered into a marketing campaign that will be newspapers, on-channel, [and] off-channel," said Cassell. "Very few networks have completely changed their name... so there's been a lot of interest in it."

The company expects the media coverage to crescendo around the new year, when the new name will launch, and then to leverage next year's upfronts for more coverage. Cassell said that they plan to emphasize that the rebranding is being done "from a position of strength."

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