TruTV (formerly Court TV) is an American cable television network owned by Turner Broadcasting, a subsidiary of Time Warner. The network launched as Court TV (not to be confused with the television genre, court shows) in 1991, changing to TruTV in 2008. Its programming has traditionally been live homicide trial coverage and other criminal justice programming; however, the network has branched out into more “caught on video” reality programs, or as TruTV calls it, “actuality” television. The channel has been highly criticized for allegedly faking their reality shows, including Storage Hunters, Southern Fried Stings, Hardcore Pawn, & Operation Repo, which used paid actors working from scripts.Court TV launched on July 1, 1991, originally only available to three million subscribers. Its original anchors were Fred Graham, who was still at the network twenty years later, and Cynthia McFadden, who later joined ABC News. Brill left the network in 1997. In 1998, NBC sold its share of the network to Time Warner. That same year, it began running several original and acquired programs in prime time, such as Homicide: Life on the Street and Forensic Files. The network was born out of two competing projects to launch cable channels with live courtroom proceedings, the American Trial Network from Time Warner and American Lawyer Media and In Court from Cablevision and NBC. Both projects were present at the National Cable Television Association in June 1990. Rather than trying to establish two competing networks, the projects were combined in December 1990. Liberty Media would join the venture in 1991. TruTV was originally known as Court TV and featured continuous live trial coverage, with analysis by anchors. The network came into its own during the Menendez brothers first trial and later the O.J. Simpson murder trial. It was led by law writer Steven Brill. In 2004, recognizing the growth of its primetime programming, Court TV split itself into two divisions. Daytime trial coverage was branded as Court TV News, and primetime and weekend programming was branded as Court TV: Seriously Entertaining. Time Warner bought full control of Court TV in 2006 and began running it as part of Turner Broadcasting. The buyout of Court TV marks Time Warner’s first instance of buying a TV network – rather than selling one – since the acquisition of TBS Networks in 1996. As part of the rebranding, daytime trial coverage, which previously aired from 9:00AM ET to 5:00PM ET, was cut back to 9:00AM ET to 3:00PM ET and branded as “In Session.” From 3:00PM ET to 5:30PM ET on weekdays and throughout the weekend, it runs original investigation-based programming and several new reality shows not related to law enforcement.TruTV HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast of TruTV, which is available nationally on DirecTV and Dish Network and regionally on AT&T U-verse, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Cable, Cablevision, Verizon FiOS and RCN. In March 2011, the channel saw a surge of deals to carry its HD feed, due to its coverage of the 2011 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament, (and subsequent tournaments) which was its first ever live sports programming.
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