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Warner Bros. Discovery Plots Primetime Sports Overhaul of TruTV

The great shake-up in cable TV continues, with Warner Bros. Discovery’s TruTV the latest channel to be overhauled.

The channel, best known for its comedy and reality shows, will shift its primetime lineup to a new sports slate beginning this coming Monday, March 11.

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Moving forward, TruTV will be home to exclusive live games (including games in the upcoming March Madness college basketball tournament and MotoGP races) as well as alternative broadcasts of NBA, MLB and NHL games on TNT and TBS. It will also simulcast some of those games, as well.

Alternative telecasts (like ESPN’s Monday Night Football “Manningcast” or Amazon’s Dude Perfect Thursday Night Football option) have become quite popular in recent years, as sports broadcasters seek to bring in new, younger fans to their live events. Leagues, likewise, support having more coverage of their games.

In addition, TNT Sports will produce a slate of sports studio programming, including 30-minute sports news show TNT Sports Update at 6 p.m., sports betting show The Line at 6:30, and a late night NBA-focused show called Handles.

As part of the strategic programming shift, TruTV’s biggest hit — the hidden camera comedy series Impractical Jokers — will move to TBS starting this summer.

“We are constantly striving to create and deliver the best sports content and experiences to sports fans wherever they are, and this is an exciting opportunity to expand the reach of our premium TNT Sports programming with greater consistency throughout the year,” said Luis Silberwasser, chairman and CEO, TNT Sports. By creating a primetime block of sports programming on truTV, in addition to our existing premium live sports on TNT and TBS, we are now able to deliver a more comprehensive sports offering for our fans, while generating additional growth opportunities for our sports division and strategic business and league partners.”

Under former TruTV president Chris Linn, the network previously had been focused on comedy since 2013. Linn departed the then-WarnerMedia-owned network in May 2019 as Kevin Reilly added oversight of the cabler before he, too, was pushed out a year later. During his tenure, Linn rebranded Court TV as TruTV with series including At Home With Amy Sedaris, Impractical Jokers, Adam Ruins Everything and Tacoma FD. TruTV previously had a roster of scripted series but phased them out earlier this year as part of the cabler’s makeover under Warner Bros. Discovery’s Kathleen Finch, with the cancellation of Tacoma FD.

The shake-up at TruTV comes amid a larger shift in cable TV, with smaller and mid-sized channels facing something of a reckoning amid continued cord-cutting. Most recently, a handful of Disney’s cable channels, including Freeform and Disney Junior, lost carriage on Charter Spectrum, raising questions about their programming future.

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