New Year Brings New Names for Cable

Five Networks Change Identities for '08

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Those who flipped through their many cable channels during the post-New Year's recovery yesterday may have noticed a few changes. No fewer than four cable networks have changed their looks, logos and even names in the past week, with a fifth to come at month's end. That doesn't even include Oxygen's new placement under the NBC Universal umbrella, which goes into effect this year as well.

To help you keep all your cable brands straight, MediaWorks has compiled a quick guide to the new kids on the cable box.

TruTV
TruTV: The most high-profile cable switcheroo is Court TV's complete rebrand as TruTV, an effort to give the network a more reality-based brand identity beyond the cops-and-courts fare that is its bread and butter. The new network, available in 91 million homes, launched on New Year's Day amidst a major marketing blitz across the other Turner Entertainment cable properties as well as a two-and-a-half-minute mini-trailer that aired in movie theaters nationwide. Returning series for the new network include "Most Shocking," "Forensic Files" and "Star Jones," with new programs "The Real Hustle," "Black Gold" and "Sky Racers" to premiere later this year.

Noggin
Noggin and The N: After sharing the same network for the past five and a half years, Viacom's Noggin and The N got their own separate ad-supported, 24-hour channels on New Year's Eve. Since April 2002, the Nickelodeon offshoots have shared the same programming schedule, with Noggin's kid-friendly lineup airing during the day and The N's teen-targeted shows taking over in the evening. The N takes the place of the Nick Games and Sports network, an ad-free cable network that aired reruns of old Nickelodeon game shows such as "Guts" and "Legends of the Hidden Temple." Both channels will be distributed in 60 million homes.

The Science Channel
The Science Channel: The Discovery cable network, in 52 million homes, introduced a new logo and on-air look at 8 p.m. on Christmas Day, rebirth symbolism apparently duly noted. The new, orange logo turns the letters "Sc" into a design looks like a listing on the periodic table. Tom Cosgrove, chief operating officer of Discovery Channel and interim general manager of Science, recently was quoted saying the network needed "a fresh, clean look" to reflect its "very modern sensibility." Also on the horizon is a new ad model called "Brain Chain," a series of sponsorable vignettes containing questions that lead to other questions to feed science junkies' curiosity.

Investigation Discovery
Investigation Discovery (ID): The last of the cable makeovers will be Investigation Discovery, the network formerly known as Discovery Times, scheduled to relaunch in more than 50 million homes on Jan. 27. After The New York Times dropped out as the network's editorial partner in 2006, Discovery was forced to find a new identity for the network, which is where the new crime and investigation focus came into play. John Ford, former general manager of Discovery Times, told Ad Age in November that the network will offer a unique ad model for advertisers to buy vignettes to "reveal the truth about their products."
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