GoreTV is coming

Al Gore's new TV channel launches in August, but it's not targeting Fox News

Published April 5, 2005 3:20PM (EDT)

The new youth-based cable TV channel Current, or better known by its shorthand, GoreTV, was announced Monday at an industry trade show. With a launch date of Aug. 1, Current will be available to 19 million subscribers. Rumors that Gore was plotting a counter to Fox News with a lefty news channel appear to be unfounded. "We have no intention of being a Democratic channel, a liberal channel, or a TV version of Air America, that's not what we're all about," Gore said Monday. (Interestingly though, one of Current's financial backers is Rob Glaser, CEO of RealNetworks Inc., who bailed out Air America last summer when money got tight.)

Rather than tackling the RNC, the former vice president said, "We are about empowering this generation of young people in their 20s, the 18-34 population, to engage in a dialogue of democracy and to tell their stories about what's going in their lives in the dominant media of our time," he said. "We're starting something new and we're trying to bring about a change in the way the television medium is used."

The idea behind Current seems to be to open up television to youth participation, to do away with the traditional gatekeepers, the way the Internet opened up a whole new mass medium for participation. "The Internet opened a floodgate for young people whose passions are finally being heard, but TV hasn't followed suit," Gore said in a statement. "Young adults have a powerful voice, but you can't hear that voice on television -- yet."

Current, based in San Francisco, will try to pull that off by showing "professionally produced segments as well as viewer-produced videos mostly short in length, running from a few seconds to up to 15 minutes," according to Reuters. "Viewers will also be able to vote for their favorite videos and get tutorials via the Internet on how to produce their own segments, according to network officials. In addition to the videos, the new network reached a pact with the search firm to include Google data on the most popular Web searches."

By Eric Boehlert

Eric Boehlert, a former senior writer for Salon, is the author of "Lapdogs: How the Press Rolled Over for Bush."

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