Al Gore-owned cable news channel to relaunch August 1 with viewer-created content

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Monday, April 4, 2005

San Francisco, California — A year after buying the struggling Newsworld International 24-hour U.S. and Canada cable news channel, former U.S. vice president Al Gore and his partner, millionaire Ohio attorney and politician Joel Hyatt, plan to re-launch the channel with a new name, a new concept and a new target audience.

Starting August 1, the channel will be known as Current and will aim its news programming at the 18-34 year old demographic that traditionally does not tune into cable news. "The Internet opened a floodgate for young people whose passions are finally being heard, but TV hasn't followed suit. Young adults have a powerful voice, but you can't hear that voice on television ... yet," Gore said in a press release issued from the network's San Francisco studios.

Gore said the new channel will be partly created by citizen journalists, where viewer-created reports will find their way on air. "We want to transform the television medium itself, giving a national platform to those who are hungry to help create the TV they want to watch. We're creating a powerful new brand of television that doesn't treat audiences as merely viewers, but as collaborators," Gore said in the release. The network posted submission guidelines on its new website which launched Monday.

Gore bought Newsworld International (NWI) from Vivendi Universal last year for $70 million. It was the only TV asset of Vivendi's not snapped up by NBC in the creation of the NBC Universal media conglomerate. NBC already had two struggling cable news channels of its own. NWI's current news content is mostly rebroadcasts of news produced by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Originally, the network was going to be remodled as a liberal counterpart to the popular Fox News Channel, which some critics claim is a conservative-slanted newscast despite the network's denial that it is "fair and balanced" in its reporting. But after market research, the new owners of NWI decided that a liberal news network was not financially feasible.

Instead, they focused on a youth-skewed news channel under the code name "INdTV" (pronounced "Indy Tee Vee"). The new name, Current, and re-launch date announcement was timed to coincide with the annual National Cable & Telecommunications Association convention, which is being held this week in San Francisco, the same city as Channel's new headquarters.

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