Court TV Returns! Why the Legal Genre Is More Popular Than Ever

court tv
Court TV

They called a retrial! Court TV, the network that allowed viewers unprecedented 24-hour-a-day courtroom access from 1991 to 2007, is banging the gavel once again.

Why relaunch today? “Cable [news] networks are now all politics, all the time, covering two branches of government and ignoring the third, the judicial branch,” says lead anchor and former prosecutor Vinnie Politan. “The genre is more popular now than when Court TV was around the first time.”

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What’s the secret to their success?

The original Court TV made its name with live coverage of the 1993 Menendez murder trial. Viewers were rapt watching brothers Erik and Lyle testify about shooting their parents and detailing years of alleged abuse. The new Court TV follows the same model.

Round-the-clock programming includes all-day live coverage of various cases, interspersed with commentary from reporters (9am/8c–6/5c). ( lists where to find the network in your area.) In the evening: Closing Arguments With Vinnie Politan (weeknights, 6/5c–9/8c), showing the highlights of the day’s events, he says, supplemented by analysis from a panel of legal experts. Then, trial coverage from the day before replays in late night.

The first cases to be spotlighted were the Georgia murder trial that found Christopher McNabb and Cortney Bell guilty of killing their 2-week-old baby, and jury selection in the California rape and kidnapping trial of accused ex–NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II. “All trials we cover are high-profile,” Politan says. “The challenge is figuring out which ones [make the cut].” Justice is served!