Court TV will become truTV, focusing shows that are “not reality” but “actuality”

Court TV will become truTV on Jan. 1, and it will focus on unscripted content that it says is more focused on reality than reality TV is. Its new tagline–“Not reality. Actuality.”–emphasizes that difference.

The network will continue to air live footage from trials during the day, but at night, “it will bolster the genre that has fueled 18 months of year-to-year ratings growth: unscripted, adrenaline-packed, male-skewing joyrides such as Beach Patrol, Hot Pursuit and Speeders,” Broadcasting & Cable reports. That’s comparable to programming decisions previously made by A&E, the Discovery Channel, and now the History Channel.

truTV’s target audience consists of “males 35-45 — a demo it called ‘real engagers,’ for their preference toward real-life subjects. But the shows shouldn’t be considered ‘reality,’ [network executives] added, because they’re all based in truth, unlike the manufactured, celebrity-laced fare we’ve come to know as reality TV,” B&C says. New reality shows include Sky Racers (“daredevil pilots”), The Real Hustle (“high-stakes con artists”), and Black Gold (“racing oil prospectors”).

Marc Juris, the network’s general manager, said, “This is not a revolution, it’s an evolution. It’s easy to knock innovation and re-energizing, but in two years, Tru will be embraced. Right now, people think we’re the Judge Judy network — ‘Court TV’ is shouting something we’re not, and this is our opportunity to finally clear that up.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.