Warner Bros. Discovery is turning truTV into a sports channel

Broadcasters Ernest Johnson Jr., Charles Barkley, and Shaquille O'Neal talk about "Inside the NBA" as they are honored at the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame awards tip-off celebration and awards gala, Friday, May 14, 2021, in Uncasville, Conn. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Broadcasters Ernest Johnson Jr., Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal talking about "Inside the NBA." (Kathy Willens / Associated Press)

Warner Bros. Discovery is giving cable network truTV a sports makeover.

The cable channel, currently a hodgepodge of reality shows and reruns, will become an additional platform for the media giant's sports properties, which include the NBA, the NHL and the NCAA basketball tournament.

Starting March 11 — a week before the start of March Madness — truTV will be all-sports in prime time, carrying a nightly live highlights program, "TNT Sports Update," and a betting show, "The Line." Both will be produced by Turner Sports.

The new programs will air weeknights ahead of simulcasts of live sports coverage airing on Warner Bros. Discovery's TBS and TNT channels.

The company said truTV also will offer alternative versions of its TBS and TNT sports telecasts, similar to what ESPN does with Peyton and Eli Manning for the brothers' version of "Monday Night Football."

TruTV will carry sports films, documentaries and talk programs featuring talent from its popular "Inside the NBA" studio show with Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley and Ernie Johnson.

The Thursday announcement comes as Warner Bros. Discovery, Fox Corp. and the Walt Disney Co. prepare to launch a streaming platform aimed at consumers who want live sports without a pay-TV subscription.

The companies are targeting an August launch for the still-unnamed service, which is expected to cost around $50 a month for a bundle of channels that carry major sporting events.

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Having a more robust lineup of sports programming likely is aimed at helping boost the appeal of the new service.

TruTV currently is best known as the home of "Impractical Jokers," a popular reality prank show; its original episodes will move to TBS.

Turner Sports has aired coverage of the NCAA men's basketball tournament games since it teamed with CBS to carry the event in 2012. That deal runs through 2032.

Once the sports block is launched, truTV will continue to feature entertainment programming during the day, drawing largely from its library.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.