TruTV Was Court TV; Now It's TruTV But Should Be Court TV
Reality? Actuality? Semantics!
My mother has been calling me every day to keep me up to date on the ongoing Jodi Arias murder trial. The court proceedings have been airing live and she is totally sucked in; she won't answer the phone while it is on nor go to the bathroom. Then she relays to me everything that happened, which, she claims, she is watching on Court TV. But Court TV is no longer a channel nor has it been one for five years (for the record, they are airing the trial on HLN).
But what the hell happened to Court TV, the channel that used to air live trials all day, every day? Sadly, it has spent the past half-decade under a new nomenclature, airing the opposite of court proceedings under the name TruTV. It is anything but what its name describes.
Court TV came about in the early '90s as a network that literally aired the goings-on of various trials in addition to a few like-minded acquired shows such as Homicide: Life in the Streets. It started small but found some luck with this little court case called, er...the OJ Simpson trial.
Court TV was awesome. It was a behind-the-scenes look at a courtroom. It was every John Grisham book but for real and without the nasally twang of Matthew McConaughey.Talk about unscripted!
But slowly the network began to siphon off its court coverage. First, it only covered court in the 9-5 time frame, but that was soon whittled down to half and then eventually none. During the transition, Court TV rebranded its evening programming as "Seriously Entertaining" in an attempt to combat the notion that watching television court cases was not at all entertaining, which is cray cray because it is! But like much of early cable that tried to be something with even the smallest iota of educational value, Court TV eventually succumbed to the perils of the dumbing down of American values and became inundated with reality programming. Sad.
TruTV was created in 2008 and vomited up the slogan "Not Reality. Actuality," which is an absurd slogan when you think about it. The network's programming consists of crap reality shows that tend to be knockoffs of other networks' crap reality shows such as Hardcore Pawn, Lizard Lick Towing and Operation Repo.
The network has been called fake by many ("fake reality show" is an oxymoron, though, isn't it?), but TruTV seems totally cool with that. In 2011, Turner's Steve Koonin told the L.A. Times, "Notice we don't say it's reality. We call it actuality. This is our version of reality." At least they admit it. I wonder, though, if the people on their show World's Dumbest are dumb in reality because if not, they are really good actors.
In looking over TruTV's weekly schedule, you will find that not only is it filled with nothing but fake reality shows, but it likes to air these shows ad nauseam; its Thursday lineup consists of nothing but marathons of World's Dumbest, Top 20 Most Shocking whatever and that game show Wipe Out, and that's pretty much it!
I'm not a TV programmer, so what the hell do I know, except the fact that I watch an enormous amount of television, but I feel the same way about this channel as I do about Ross the clothing store: I have never met a person who will admit to shopping there, but they seem to stay in business. And every once in a while, I stop in and even buy something, but there is no way in hell I would tell anyone that I own a dress from Ross because I would rather die of shame.
TruTV is an embarrassing Ross dress that you pretend not to own but wear on occasion.
Court TV was so much better.
Get the Theater Newsletter
Get a rundown of upcoming theater events and ticket deals in Houston.