TV

How Court TV’s Relaunch Covers High-Profile Cases

In an era of true crime stories, this is an understandable comeback

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What does the circa-2020 version of Court TV look like compared with its earlier iteration?
Court TV
By Tobias Carroll / March 6, 2020 1:04 pm

What does it mean to live during a golden age of true crime narratives? Among many other factors, there’s the matter of Court TV, which has embarked on a high-profile relaunch. During its initial heyday, Court TV drew attention for broadcasting high-profile legal cases, such as the trial of O.J. Simpson.

At Vanity Fair, Maureen O’Connor explored the network’s revival — and how they’re both revisiting their substantial archive and putting a new spin on circa-2020 trial coverage. Among the array of tools available to them: a pair of news vans dubbed Bonnie and Clyde.

Among the areas that O’Connor highlights are the ingenious ways Court TV has worked around cases where cameras are barred from the courtroom — such as Harvey Weinstein’s recent trial.

… the network hired a speed typist to transcribe and email testimony, so that actors in a recording studio in Atlanta could perform same-day vocal reenactments. (The court’s official transcript is rarely available this quickly.) Paired with photos of the real lawyers and witnesses whom the actors voiced, “Instant Replay” became a franchise for the network—and a source of courtroom gossip.

A look at Court TV’s announcement of Instant Replay also shows the network positioning itself as a media transparency advocate. The press release announcing the show closes on this note: “Court TV helped lead the charge for media access in the courtroom for the Weinstein trial, which was denied.”

As O’Connor writes, the current iteration of Court TV includes a few longtime contributors both behind and in front of the camera — including anchor Vinnie Politan. In a sign of the times, Politan is also hosting a podcast for the network — a place where decades’ worth of true crime coverage comes full circle.

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