New US Court Room TV show launches with paternity at its heart

In recent years there have been many a TV show such as the Jeremy Kyle Show and the Jeremy Springer Show which use DNA paternity testing in a small way to bring out the true paternity of a child to the alleged parents attention.

But now a new US show called ‘Paternity Court’ takes the concept to a new level by making the paternity test a key element in the daytime court room series.

In the show a family lawyer presides over paternity disputes and attempts to help heal the rifts caused by the fallout from these cases and the ensuing DNA paternity test results.

The show is made by Orion TV Productions and distributed by its parent company MGM. The show is exec produced by David Armour, who has also worked on Ricki Lake and Queen Latifah talk shows among others.

“We looked at what was working and people were interested in the DNA test reveal, so we created a format centred on that – the idea was that DNA reveal plus a court show,” explains Chris Ottinger, president of International Television Distribution and Acquisitions at MGM.

“We expected to be controversial, but Lauren Lake (The family lawyer) has brought something a lot of people didn’t expect from the show, which is a real heart and level of emotion as well as the reveal. In tone its closer to Oprah than Jeremy Kyle or Jerry Springer.

In each half hour two cases are heard by Lake – there is no jury and none of the evidence heard is legally binding. All the parties involved are provided counselling if needed and the implications of the paternity test are discussed before the show starts filming.

Paternity Court has generated good numbers in the US. From weeks one to two it doubled its share among teens and was up double digit in the 18-to-34 and core female demos. Unlike all other court shows on US air it has built share, growing from a 0.8 household rating at launch in September to a 1.0 rating. With these kind of ratings we are sure that Orion TV Productions will commission another series and look to push this format out internationally and we will see a version of the show in the UK.

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