Judge Judy takes over more local TV channels

Judge Judy and reality shows about true crimes: that's what's screening on most local TV channels after another local TV group signed up to CBS Reality.

That's TV, which runs local channels in places including Carlisle, Glasgow, Hull, Manchester, Norwich, Oxford and Southampton, now simulcasts programming from the CBS Reality channel across its network throughout the day and late night. CBS Reality is probably best known as the home of back-to-back episodes of US court room show Judge Judy.

It follows authorisation from Ofcom earlier this year allowing the various stations under That's TV's control to harmonise their local programming quotas to clear space in the schedules for strands of nationally networked programmes - dubbed a 'national spine' of programmes.

At the time it was revealed that the nationally networked programmes would be entertainment-based, but not who would provide the programmes.

Previously, That's TV had shown teleshopping from TJC during the day, before reverting to a loop of local news from 6pm through to the morning. Following the changes, there's still a slot for local news between 6pm and 9pm, before the channel reverts back to CBS Reality. TJC is currently still scheduled between 11am and 1pm.

By adding a simulcast of CBS Reality, That's TV follows in the footsteps of the former Made TV local channels, which operate in places including Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Leeds and Newcastle. These stations already carry CBS Reality for most of the day, with breaks at lunchtime, early evening and breakfast time for local news programmes.

The Knowledge: Local TV
Local TV is dominated by two companies: Made TV (via subsidiary Local TV Ltd) and That's TV after a spate of mergers and acquisitions once the initial Licence Fee funding for the new local channels ran out. Only a few local TV stations survive outside of this duopoly: Notts TV, NVTV Belfast, Sheffield Live, Latest TV Brighton, KMTV and London Live.

The former Made TV channels are owned by Local TV Limited, of which Made Television Ltd holds a majority share.

That's TV is owned by Daniel Cass, who controls the similarly named Local Television Limited and a number of similarly named companies, including Local TV News Limited and That's Entertainment Network Limited - a new name for Local Television Edinburgh Limited.

Originally promising to offer many hours of local news and features to viewers, economic reality soon ensured that every local channel went back to Ofcom to reduce their licence commitments. As a result of being able to show fewer local programmes, there's more time for networked programmes - but not what viewers might have expected from local TV.