It's tru -- oops, true: This channel finally gets attention


By Mike Hughes

LOS ANGELES -- The
channel has been with us approximately forever.

It was Court TV ...
and then Tru TV, the reality channel ... and now Tru TV, the comedy
channel. This time, we might actually notice it.

“When you're the
little guy, you can take big swings,” said Chris Linn, the
channel's president.

There have been some
interesting swings lately, including “I'm Sorry” ... and “Adam
Ruins Everything” ... and “The Carbonero Effect,” a show that
seemed to defy TV logic.

“A 'hidden-camera
magic show' is the worst pitch ever,” Linn said. “It sounded
horrid.”

Instead, it's funny
and charming; now comes another odd swing: “The Chris Gethard Show”
was a live show on public-access TV, was a taped show on the Fusion
channel and now jumps to Tru.

As Gethard tells it:
“Tru was like, 'You wanna do it live again?' And I was like, 'That
sounds like a great idea!' But in my head, I was like, 'That could be
a very bad idea!'”

There he'll be each
Thursday, going live with what has been described (accurately,
Gethard says) as “an island of misfit toys.” His co-host, Shannon
O'Neill, calls herself “just a real cool chick”; their announcer,
Murf Meyer, describes himself as a former heroin addict and “current
functioning alcoholic.” Mixed in are celebrities, phone calls and
sometimes a hula hoop.

“What I don't
want,” Gethard said, “is anything middle-ground.” Which is the
idea behind this version of the network.

It started in 1991
as Court TV, showing trials. In 2008, the Turner cable people
switched it to Tru TV, a failed stab at reality. In 2013, Linn
arrived, bringing experience (via MTV and Nickelodeon) with young
audiences. He made the switch to humor.

That's a crowded
field, with ComedyCentral and TBS, plus large chunks on IFC,
Freeform, Disney, the Cartoon Network, small streaming sites and big
networks. Still, Linn said this is what young viewers want. “Comedy
is currency for millenials; they like to share it.”

The key, he said, is
to find unique people and give them room. Adam Conover (“Adam Ruins
Everything”) was on the www.collegehumor.com
... Andrea Savage (“I'm Sorry”) was jumping from mainstream
acting to www.funnyordie.com
... Michael Carbonaro was acting in small films and doing “magic
clerk” bits for Jay Leno ... Gethard had mostly been on public
access TV in New York.

Now they have shows
on Tru TV, which, Linn says, has seen its viewers' average age drop
from 43 to 33. Somebody, it seems, may finally be noticing it.

Tru sampler

-- “The Chris
Gethard Show” is live (live-on-tape on the West Coast) at 11 p.m.
ET Thursdays. The Aug. 3 opener reruns at 3 a.m., then at 5 and 11
p.m. Saturday and 3 a.m. Sunday.

-- “I'm Sorry”
has new episodes at 10 p.m. Wednesdays, with a previous episode at
10:30. It has reruns that night at 2 and 2:30 a.m. and then at 7 and
7:30 p.m. Saturdays.

-- “Adam Ruins
Everything” has new episodes at 10 p.m. Tuesdays. The Aug. 1
episode – facts and myths about dating – reruns that night at 2
a.m., then 4 p.m. Sunday and 9:30 p.m. Aug. 8. Other episodes rerun
6-8 a.m. Satuday (Aug. 5); 4:30-6 p.m. Sunday; 10-11 p.m. Sunday;
9-11 p.m. Monday.

-- “The Carbonaro
Effect” is aping new episodes. Its reruns include 3-8 p.m.
Wednesday (Aug. 2); 3-7 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; 9-11
p.m. Sunday; and 5-8 p.m. Wednesday (Aug. 9).