Legal analyst Lis Wiehl is joining the streaming over-the-top video service Law&Crime as an anchor and analyst, the company said Monday.
Wiehl, who previously served as a legal analyst for Fox News, NBC News and NPR, was a federal prosecutor before moving to the media business. She will start February 6.
The hiring of Wiehl coincides with an expansion of Law&Crime, with the company having recently received an investment from A+E Networks, and redesigned its studio in New York City.
Law&Crime is trying to recreate CourtTV for a world where specialty streaming services are increasingly finding fertile ground where niche cable channels used to thrive.
CourtTV rebranded as TruTV in 2007, and eventually stopped all live court coverage. HLN continued to cover trials and big legal cases for a few years following CourtTV’s demise, but eventually it too abandoned the format.
While live trial coverage wasn’t able to survive on cable, this type of programming could be the perfect fit for an increasingly OTT world. While most trials could draw viewers in the hundreds of thousands, high-profile cases—such as the Casey Anthony murder trial — would draw millions of viewers.
And while live trial programming was rarely able to secure blue-chip advertisers, there was still a market for it. With more targeted advertisements possible on OTT platforms, networks like Law&Crime could become places for advertisers to turn to when trying to reach female viewers.
Law&Crime’s founder, Dan Abrams, who also serves as ABC News’ chief legal anchor, is betting that those viewers are still out there, and will find their way to a network without traditional distribution.