Fox's KTTV Los Angeles will test TMZ Live, a spinoff of TMZ and TMZ.com, at 3 p.m. PT Monday through Friday starting Monday, March 12.
TMZ Live has been airing for the past year and a half on Ustream.TV. Each weekday on that site, Harvey Levin and Charles Latibeaudiere, TMZ's executive and co-executive producer, and other members of the TMZ staff, hang out in the TMZ offices and chat about the news of the day, much of which they are breaking. Those conversations are streamed out to whoever chooses to tune in on Ustream. So far, TMZ Live's stream has been viewed more than a million times.
"On TMZ Live, we invite people into this newsroom for an hour a day to see how we break stories and see the debates that go on," says Levin. "We talk with the celebrities who are involved in some of these stories. It's not a structured talk show where everyone is on a stage; it's being part of this room. Everyone has a voice in the room, so it's very loose in that sense. There's a free-flowing debate going on all the time. Viewers feel like they are part of this room and they see how TMZ works."
Engaging parts of both TMZ, the TV show, and TMZ.com, TMZ Live is produced to feel very interactive and very casual.
"This show crosses platforms and that's why I like it so much," says Levin. "It's a blend of what we do online with what happens on TV, and it's not classically one medium or another. I think that as media merge, people will have to start producing in a different way. That's what we have been working on with TMZ Live for a year and a half."
On TMZ Live, viewers can interact with TMZ staffers via a range of social media, including Skype, Twitter, Facebook or just by picking up their phones and calling in.
"The show is about how we do what we do but we also explain these stories to people," says Levin. "This isn't a bunch of anchors in suit coats and dresses talking about something they are at best peripherally involved in. We have the people who broke these stories in the room, talking about the stories they broke, how they came to be, and what's behind all of this. We have the context."
TMZ Live will replace Debmar-Mercury's Jeremy Kyle, which will move over to Fox's other owned station in Los Angeles, KCOP.