November 3, 2003
Present at the Creation
Al Gore wants to start a hip, newsy cable channel. He’s got some impressive people on board. Judging from all that I’ve read, this thing could be wicked cool.
But only… if… done… right.
Let’s review our intel to date.
The plan: Gore and several partners are looking to buy Newsworld International, a digital cable channel that pipes international news shows into about 20 million homes. Newsworld is owned by Vivendi Universal Entertainment, which is soon to merge with NBC.
The assumption: That the new channel would be designed as a liberal counterweight to Fox News.
The reality: Gore & Co. seem interested in a public affairs channel for young people. It’ll be MTV meets CNN. NPR in cargo pants. C-SPAN with a subscription to Cosmo Girl. Wait, scratch that last one.
The name: VTV. Or maybe The Indie Channel. (Or maybe neither of those janky names?? But I digress. Today is descriptive; tomorrow is prescriptive.)
The setting: New York or San Francisco.
The brain trust: Bob Pittman is an advisor. Pittman created MTV (!) and was most recently an executive at AOL Time Warner. Also on board: Orville Schell, dean of the Berkeley j-school and basically the Albus Dumbledore of journalism.
The sensibility: Schell says it will be for “young people interested in the world who don’t want their news dumbed down.” (That quote is via TVGuide.com via the New York Post. Whoah.) Another consultant has described it as The Issues Network.
The style: That same consultant, a TV producer named Steve Rosenbaum, is big into “user video” and the rise of low-cost DV cameras. Also, Gore & Co. are intrigued by the “music videos for people who think” posted on this site. (Here’s a good one.)
And there you have it. I have scoured the Internet for these scraps. With them, we will scry the future.
Tomorrow: Thursday: Friday: Someday (dammit, blogging is hard!): The three things Gore TV must do.