While it’s still too early to tell who, if anybody, is going to come out of the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial a winner (Heard’s testimony has only just started) one thing’s for sure: the hearing has done huge numbers for the recently relaunched Court TV. Despite lacking the same stakes as the O.J. Simpson trial, the network has gone whole hog on the legal proceedings, and it’s paid off big time.
In a new feature on the efforts Court TV has gone to cover the trial, including constructing an elaborate network of sprawling cables to keep a non-stop feed from the massive courtroom going, network execs say ratings have been through the roof. Via Vanity Fair:
It has been sometimes-disturbing, occasionally-bizarre, always-tragic television. As such, it has enthralled viewers and, much like the network’s greatest hits in its halcyon days of the 1990s when it provided daily coverage of the Menendez brothers and O.J. Simpson, created a cultural conversation around it. Howard Stern and Joe Rogan have both weighed in. (Anti-Depp and pro-Depp, respectively.) It has all led to Court TV’s peak viewership since its relaunch in 2019, the network said.
“I’m sure it doesn’t shock you, but we’ve more than doubled our daytime ratings due to this trial,” Jon Marks, chief research officer at the Scripps’ national networks, which owns Court TV, told me. Streaming numbers have, he said, practically quadrupled during the trial.
The network reportedly saw its biggest ratings last Monday when Depp finished being cross-examined by Heard’s legal team and was able to continue crafting his narrative that, actually, he’s the real victim here. It was a performance that saw the actor get lambasted by Howard Stern, who wasn’t buying what Depp was selling.
“He wanted it televised [because] that’s what narcissists do. They think they can talk their way out of anything,” Stern said. “I think Johnny Depp is a huge narcissist and what I mean by that is — he figured, ‘I’ll put this on TV and because I’m so persuasive and because I’m so smart, I’m such a wonderful guy.'”
Stern then opined that he doesn’t think Depp’s weird accent and “overacting” will help his case. But, again, it’s too early to tell how the trial will shake out as Heard has only just taken the witness stand to tell her side of the story. It’s all a mess. At least the cable stations are getting ratings and the lawyers are getting paid.
(Via Vanity Fair)