Ex-Veep Pushes Pod TV


Current, that's the name of the new 18-34 cable channel from a pair of high-profile players.

It will be delivered in an "i-pod shuffle" model of 15-second to 5-minute units, apparently targeting the short-form attention spans of their demo.

Former VP Al Gore and legal services guru Joel Hyatt are teaming on the project, which launches Aug. 1.

The announcement came at the National Cable & Telecommuniations Associations in San Francisco (Current's headquarters) a year after the channel was unveiled at the cable show.

Current hopes to attract the internet surfing crowd with a channel that takes a page from the "Web empowerment" model by encouraging viewers to help set the programming agenda.

“Until now, the notion of viewer participation has been limited to sending a tape to America’s Funniest Home Videos, calling an interview show, taking part in an instant poll, or voting someone off an island,” Gore said Monday.  “We’re creating a powerful new brand of television that doesn’t treat audiences as merely viewers, but as collaborators.”

Pods will include “Current Playlist” (music), “Current Parent” (advice to first-time parents), “Current Gigs” (career advice) “Current Courage” (heroes and altruists), “Current Video” (clips from the next Spielberg or Spike Jonze) and “Current Rant” (viewers let off steam).

News updates will be courtesy of a Web search. “Google Current,” built from Google search data, will provide news on the half-hour.

Gore and Hyatt laid the foundations of the channel with their May 2004 purchase of Newsworld International, a 24-hour news channel formerly operated by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

That channel already has 20 million households in the U.S. through carriage deals with DirecTV, Time Warner and Comcast.