|Type||Digital multicast television network|
Nationwide via OTA digital TV (U.S. coverage: 54%)Dish Network - Channel 252
November 10, 2014 |
by Lonnie Cooper
|Owner||Justice Network, LLC|
|January 20, 2015|
|Affiliates||List of affiliates|
Justice Network is an American digital multicast television network that is operated by Justice Network, LLC, a limited liability company owned by a consortium that includes John Walsh and network founder Lonnie Cooper. The network specializes in true crime, investigation and forensic science documentary programming aimed at adults – with a skew toward females – between the ages of 25 and 54.
The network, which broadcasts in 480i standard definition, is available in several large and mid-sized markets via digital subchannel affiliations with broadcast television stations, along with carriage of Justice Network-affiliated subchannels on cable television providers in most of its market coverage via existing carriage agreements for local broadcast stations.
The concept for the network was developed in 2013, when network founder Lonnie Cooper (a former executive at Bounce TV and chief executive officer of sports marketing firm CSE) had approached Steve Schiffman (who formerly served as president of National Geographic Channel) on a proposal for a new digital multicast network. Schiffman suggested to Cooper that the network should focus on crime and investigation-related programming, an idea he suggested based on the popularity of the genre and the success of Investigation Discovery. Incidentally by that year, about half of the 50 highest-rated television programs as ranked by Nielsen were crime-related series.
The formation of Justice Network was announced on November 10, 2014, with the Gannett Company's television station group tapped as its charter affiliates. Besides featuring justice-oriented programming intended to entertain audiences, the network also intended on taking an active role in combating crime and by working with various law enforcement agencies to disseminate information about missing children, and fugitives accused of various felonies. Cooper assembled several top media executives to head the network at its launch with Schiffman as chief executive officer, Barry Wallach (former president of NBCUniversal Television Distribution) as head of distribution and John Ford (former president of Discovery Communications) as head of programming.
The network launched at 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time on January 20, 2015.
Crime and investigation programming
Through a syndication agreement with Turner Entertainment announced with the network on November 10, 2014, Justice Network relies on an extensive library of crime and justice-related programming owned by the Turner Broadcasting System (encompassing 400 hours worth of episodes), including some series that originally aired on CourtTV/TruTV. The network's decision to focus on crime-focused programming is based on various factors in addition to viewer interest in the genre, as it is intended to help tie into its public service mission, and because the genre is of relatively low cost to acquire and produce compared to other fact-based genres. No originally produced programming appears on Justice Network at present, although there are plans to start developing original content within the network's first year.
In addition, the network airs 90 seconds of public service announcements per hour within its commercial breaks, which are produced through partnerships with Crime Stoppers USA, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and a number of law enforcement agencies. These PSAs consist of three different 30-second segments: the "Bad Person of the Week" (featuring a specific profile of a wanted fugitive accused of a violent or non-violent felony), a report on a missing children (featuring information on when they were last seen before they were abducted or ran away and the child's statistics) and safety tips informing the public on how to prevent themselves from becoming victims of a crime or abduction.
The PSAs are mainly tailored to the specific region of the local Justice Network affiliate, with additional information on the fugitives and missing children profiled available on the network's website. John Walsh, founder of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, serves as the network's on-air spokesperson and announcer of the PSA interstitials.
In order for its affiliates to comply with the Federal Communications Commission's Children's Television Act (which incorporates a rule requiring stations to carry additional educational programming content on their subchannels regardless of their programming format), Justice Network currently provides a three-hour block of educational programming that includes one hour of Food for Thought with Claire Thomas (originally distributed for the ABC-syndicated Litton's Weekend Adventure block) and two hours of Wild About Animals on Sunday mornings.
As of April 2015, Justice Network has current or pending affiliation agreements with television stations in 35 media markets encompassing 23 states and the District of Columbia, covering 40% of all households of at least one television set in the United States.
When its launch was announced, the network reached a charter affiliation agreement with the Gannett Company's broadcasting unit (now split into a separate company named Tegna as of June 29, 2015), which initially debuted the network on 22 of its television stations. KMSB in Tucson was also named as part of Justice Network's initial affiliate body; however even though that station's license was owned by Sander Media, LLC (KMSB's license is now owned by Tegna, which also handles sales and programming acquisitions for the station, but operations are handled by Raycom Media under a shared services agreement).
As a result of the Live Well Network's initial plans to cease operations around the time of Justice Network's launch (later choosing to end national distribution of the former, and relegate it exclusively to ABC owned-and-operated stations owned by ABC Owned Television Stations in April 2015), some former LWN outlets owned by Gannett chose to become Justice Network affiliates at its launch.
On November 16th, 2016 Justice Network launched on Dish Network on channel 252.
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