Of all the mainstream media entities in need of an emergency name-change, you’d think Court TV would be pretty low on the list. They beam law-related programming to your television set 24/7: Courtrooms + TV = Court TV. Simple, right?
Well, don’t try telling that to the people who run the place. (Full disclosure: Court TV is owned by a division of Time Warner, which is also EW.com’s corporate parent.) Back in March, it was announced that the network would undergo an extreme makeover in time for January 2008, including a new emphasis on reality shows which take place outside the courtroom. That makes sense; who wouldn’t want to get a piece of the ratings-boosting, dignity-plummeting reality bonanza? (The reimagined network’s flagship series will be a live weekday talk show called Star Jones. I’ll say no more.) But they’re not just playing with their content—no, they feel the need to give Court TV a bright, brand-new name to show the world how hip and cool they’re going to be in ’08. They finally unveiled the new name today, and it’s…drumroll, please…”truTV”?!
No, that’s not a mistake. It’s really spelled that way: truTV, one awful little word. I object to this, first, on purely typographic grounds. Are we seriously still using unorthodox capitalization to signify “edgy”? Look, I don’t want to rush to judgment here, but—wait, actually, I do want to rush to judgment. I’m sorry. This name is just lame, however it’s spelled. Will Star Jones’ live soliloquies somehow be more “tru” than any of the 10,000 other talking heads spouting off on TV at any given moment? A network exec claims in a press release that the name reflects the “real-life action programming” and “real-life emotion” that viewers can expect to enjoy. But “tru”th is, this vague, generic name seems all too appropriate for the network’s new approach. They’re giving up the unique identity they once had in an attempt to hop on the same bandwagon as everyone else on the basic-cable spectrum. That might not be all bad—hey, I can even see myself enjoying Neighbors 911, the show (still in development) in which “former Green Beret Myke Hawke goes into the homes of people… [and] uses video evidence to force them to confront each other,” according to a press release. But let’s not pretend that these contrived, heavily-edited shows are going to be more real than the real-life courtroom footage that Court TV is known for.
What do you think, PopWatchers—is my ruling too severe? And what other TV networks would you prefer to rechristen?