Former Vice President Al Gore announced on Monday that his new TV venture, formerly called INdTV, will now be launched as Current.tv on August 1. The network will be aimed at 18- to 34-year-olds and its goal is to have much of its content created by viewers.
The network calls its short-form programming the TV equivalent of "an iPod shuffle" — 15-second to five-minute segments — that will cover everything from trends in fashion, music and technology to news, politics, finance, spirituality and the environment. The pod segments will include a "Current Playlist" (music for the digital generation), "Current Parent" (advice to first-timers), "Current Gigs" (career guidance) and "Current Soul" (trends in spirituality). Viewers can submit their own material for interactive pods like "Current Video," which will showcase videos from up-and-coming directors, and "Current Rant," where viewers can let off steam.
"Google Current," which will use samplings from the popular engine's search data, will automatically update the network's news every half hour with segments spanning from 30 seconds to three minutes in length.
Current's goal is to turn its audience into the network's primary producers. "We're creating a powerful new brand of television that doesn't treat audiences as merely viewers, but as collaborators," Gore said. After signing a release, viewers will be able to upload their own segments into the mix via the network's Web site, which will then be assessed and ranked by other viewers. The highest-ranked picks will be aired on the network. In an effort to facilitate their viewers' participation, Current will also offer a comprehensive online training program that will teach anyone with a digital camera and a computer how to produce a proper news segment.
"The Internet opened a floodgate for young people whose passions are finally being heard, but TV hasn't followed suit," said Gore, who also serves as the network's chairman. "Young adults have a powerful voice, but you can't hear that voice on television — yet. We want to transform [television], by giving a national platform to those who are hungry to create the TV they want to watch."
Current's programming will be hosted by several personalities who have honed their broadcasting skills by producing pieces for ABC's "Nightline," NBC, PBS and the student network Channel One. Gotham Chopra, host of "Current Soul" and a former Channel One news anchor, was called one of the "most powerful and influential" South Asians worth watching by Newsweek. Laura Ling, an alum of Channel One and MTV, and writer/actor Conor Knighton are also on the team.
Joel Hyatt, Current's co-founder, credits the vision of the new network to an Orson Welles quote he once heard: "Don't give them what you think they want. Give them what they never thought was possible."