A new broadcast TV channel, the Justice Network, will feature “gripping stories of true crime and aiming to make communities safer by empowering viewers to take action,” according to a media announcement released today. The network will be broadcast on stations covering approximately 0ne-third of the nation upon its launch this coming January.
It appears that the Justice Network will consist of nonfiction shows, combining true-crime programming with safety tips and ways for audience members to help identify criminals: it “will enlist viewers to track down criminals and missing children in first-of-its-kind public service initiative,” according to a promotional description.
The initial program lineup will include series such as Body of Evidence, Masterminds, The Investigators, Psychic Detectives, I, Detective, LA Forensics, Missing Persons Unit, Murder by the Book, Parco P.I., Locked Up Abroad, Alaska State Troopers, Extreme Evidence, North Mission Road, Haunting Evidence, Over the Limit, and Dominick Dunne’s Power, Privilege, and Justice.
The press release provides these details about the network’s public service programming:
Working in partnership with Crime Stoppers USA, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and other law enforcement agencies, the Justice Network will dedicate 90 seconds to public service every hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This includes: 30 seconds to “Bad Person of the Week”, :30 seconds to help locate missing children, and :30 seconds to providing viewers with invaluable safety tips.
Major figures at the fledgling network were previously associated with National Geographic Channels, NBC/Universal, Discovery Channel, and Bounce TV. The channel’s mission statement emphasizes the public-service element, stating the network “is dedicated to providing a first-of-its-kind public service initiative by targeting ‘bad guys,’ finding missing children and providing safety tips for its viewers. Proud to be the only multicast network with a public service commitment to making communities safer, the Justice Network recognizes crime affects everyone.”
There are already two or three cable networks providing full-time coverage of true crime stories, and large blocks of such programming on other networks such as Headline News and True TV. What differentiates the Justice Network is is availability on free broadcast TV and the public service element. It seems possible that individual stations will provide locality-specific crime alerts and other such custom programming at some point.
At a time when the nation’s law-enforcement agencies seem all too often out of control, Justice Network may be swimming against the tide, but if it conveys the sense that members of the public needs to take more responsibility for their own safety and become more aware of what both police and criminals are doing, the new network could have a positive influence on the culture and society.