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Al Gore's New Network "Current" Debuts

"I invite each of you to sit down in front of your own television set when your station goes on the air and stay there for the day. . . . I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland."

Newton N. Minow, FCC chairman (May 9, 1961)

An audience substantially lower than the supposed 20 million viewers that Al Gore's new network Current supposedly reaches tuned in early Monday morning and witnessed what a network devoted to re-immortalizing Minow's famous observation.

Current's inauspicious debut, while probably only seen by close relatives of staff member and a few handfuls of the curious, bring to mind the early 80's debut of MTV. Contrary to popular belief MTV was not an immediate hit - it's early days were a mess of experimentation and awkwardness as MTV video jockeys (mostly former radio DJ's) struggled to learn a new format. MTV had one big advantage over the new Current, people actually wanted to see music video while no one is clamoring to see a 5 minute video about a young couple having a baby (their family excepted), thinking about suicide, or other such nonsense.

In the interest of television history I logged as much of the first hour as I could stomach - which wasn't too much.

The fist thing you notice is the hosts, they're young, preachy, and entirely too excited about the significance of any of the America's Unfunniest Home Videos they're about to show you. The videottes have something in the lower left part of the screen which looks like a mini-TiVo timeline or camcorder timer. As near as I can tell the progress bar is there to let you know how long your misery will last before one of the slicky boy VJ's get all up in your grill from a bizarre camera angle again. When the hosts come back on telling you how wonderful the whiny video you just saw was they'll also remind you how cool they are for being on Current, and how cool you are for watching. Of course they're blogging their coolness...

The centerpiece of the network is something called, I kid you not, Google Current which purports to let you know about trends real time. The host of that segment is perhaps the networks version of Martha Quinn, Kinga Philipps (picture 1, 2). If the editions of Google Current I saw are any indication the network showpiece is in serious trouble. The top 10 "revolutions"? They give you top searches for terms or concepts no one is really searching for.

Current is a big giant mess of viewer contributed content only slightly more entertaining that a test pattern, but they've got a long way to go even to rise to the level of an infomercials. At 2:00am when the TiVo service information download started and the tuner changed to a blank channel I was, frankly, relieved...


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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Al Gore's New Network "Current" Debuts:

» basil's blog linked with Headline News: 8/1/2005

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» Conservative Outpost linked with Gore TV

» Ramblings' Journal linked with AlGore-vision replaces NWI tonight at midnight

» Reasoned Audacity: Politics in Real Life linked with Cheri Yecke for Congress

Comments (20)

You need to change the cata... (Below threshold)

You need to change the catagory for this post from Entertainment to Torture.

And people wonder why I don... (Below threshold)
fatman:

And people wonder why I don't own a tv.

Y'know, back in the day, I ... (Below threshold)

Y'know, back in the day, I did want my MTV, but after fifteen minutes of my life was wasted, I did not want my GoreTV.

Sweet baby Jebus! That crap yearns for a smack in the head.

At 2:00am when the TiVo ... (Below threshold)
Paul:

At 2:00am when the TiVo service information download started and the tuner changed to a blank channel I was, frankly, relieved...

roflmao

The Sawhorse Network might ... (Below threshold)
bullwinkle:

The Sawhorse Network might be an attempt to make Gore look interesting, a very tough job but not impossible, especially if you go to the far corners of the globe searching for the most dull and boring there is to offer. Maybe they can televise a live personality transplant on him. I'd watch just to see how empty the space is where they implanted it.

I'm curious... what were th... (Below threshold)
meep:

I'm curious... what were the search terms?

I went to the page to see i... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

I went to the page to see if anyone around here carried it. Much to my surprise, they REQUIRED me to provide my name, address, phone number, e-mail, etc. just to find out if anyone carried their crappy network.

I thought the Dems were all about privacy. I guess I was wrong about that.

I've not seen the network y... (Below threshold)
andy:

I've not seen the network yet, but did look at the web page.

However, a thought occurs: perhaps we're not the target audience. Just as my demographic shot out of the target range for MTV and The Gap, I'm not that bothered if Gore's new station isn't trying to reel me in.

Hell, "Full House" and "Family Matters" stayed on TV for years and years - and they were dark vortexes of utter TV suckiness. There's hope for Current.

Have they found a charity t... (Below threshold)

Have they found a charity to steal from yet?

Hmmm."You need to ... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

"You need to change the catagory for this post from Entertainment to Torture."

HELLO GITMO!

What a wonderful way to tor .... Interrogate Gitmo prisoners. Bore them beyond endurance and if anybody complains, point a finger at Al Bore.

Sorry. Gore.

You know what would kick as... (Below threshold)
Paul Zrimsek:

You know what would kick ass? Instead of just showing the videos they could have like these two cartoon guys sitting on a sofa watching the videos and talking about how much they suck and stuff. And then maybe that Amaya Brecher chick could like show her boobs. That would rule. Heh-heh, heh, heh.

Hmmm."That would r... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

"That would rule. Heh-heh, heh, heh."

Especially if one of the characters was named "Al Turbo".

I agree with the MTV analog... (Below threshold)

I agree with the MTV analogy Kevin although I would add one thing. There are now about 400 other channels to watch. during MTV's launch maybe a total of 30 channels including pay channels were available. competition either in this case makes the product stronger or makes the product dissapear. Personally I have no problem seeing less of anything Al Gore is affiliated with. Less is definitely more in this case.

(Copyrighted material delet... (Below threshold)
Dan:

(Copyrighted material deleted)

RE: Dan's post (August 1, 2... (Below threshold)
AnonymousDrivel:

RE: Dan's post (August 1, 2005 01:25 PM)

Dan, are you still looking for Aisle 9: Irrelevant References? I think your compass is broken.

Tease. You got me all hot ... (Below threshold)

Tease. You got me all hot and bothered when you mentioned Martha Quinn.

Fortunately, Steve L., the ... (Below threshold)

Fortunately, Steve L., the only required fields are zip code and address.

I entered "up your ass" in the address field, supplied my correct zip and received this in response: So close but yet so far. Here we are in the same city and we can't even meet. Thanks to Adelphia we're going to have to remain online friends for now.

If they had a comment field, I would have asked what they were wearing.

It's not available where I ... (Below threshold)
mesablue:

It's not available where I live, hoping it stays that way.

I entered the zipcode of Gu... (Below threshold)

I entered the zipcode of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (09593) and Current is carried there on DirecTV.

So they could use it as torture

I tuned in yesterday not kn... (Below threshold)
BILL:

I tuned in yesterday not knowing what it was and had no idea Gore was part of it. I saw a nice mix of stories, and had no problem watching for an hour. Better than most of the garbage on television.
I tuned in again last night, and some new features but mostly repeats of the pieces shown earlier in the day. It does remind me of early MTV, but that channel didn't do too badly for itself. If you think this channel is 'torture' you obviously haven't watched the other 840 channels.




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