Current TV

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Template:Infobox TV channel Current TV is a media company led by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and businessman Joel Hyatt. The Comcast Corporation currently owns a ten percent stake of Current's parent company, Current Media LLC.[1] The Current cable television network went on the air in the US at midnight EDT (4:00 UTC) on the morning of August 1, 2005. A second network, operated in the United Kingdom and Ireland started its operation March 12, 2007, for Sky in the UK and Ireland and on Virgin Media in the UK. A third network, operated in Italy started its operation February 8, 2008, for SKY Italia subscribers and later for 3 subscribers.

Current TV features "pods," or short programs, of which a portion are created by viewers and users.

An experimental Canadian show from CBC called ZeD was the first programmed broadcast of user-generated video content.[2] Other inspiration for Current TV came from a 1990s series on MTV called UNfiltered, where the network sent cameras to viewers in order to report on stories they thought were important. Current TV is the first American 24-hour network based around viewer-created content, which it dubs VC2.



Users (called VC2 Producers) contribute three-to-seven-minute "pods", which are on a variety of subject matter. The content is filtered by registered users, on Current's website through a voting process, but pods are ultimately approved or disapproved by Current's on-air programming department, VC2 makes up a portion of the material aired on the channel. Users can also create Viewer Created Ad Messages, or V-CAMs and Current TV promos which are small promotions for either Current TV or the general topic of VC2. The channel has exclusive broadcast rights for all media in perpetuity on viewer-submitted pods, and in some cases outright ownership of the pod and its raw footage, although this is negotiated on a pod by pod basis.

Along with a plethora of VC2 content, Current also produces a variety of programs internally, including:

  • infoMania is a weekly produced half-hour show which takes a satirical look into the world of politics and other pop culture news; similar to The Soup and The Daily Show.
  • Vanguard is Current's in-house journalism department, consisting of a team of young producers and correspondents who specialize in enterprising reporting on global issues. In addition to contributing original pods to Current's daily shuffle, Vanguard airs a weekly half-hour program of longer and more in depth pieces.
  • The Rotten Tomatoes Show is a collaboration between Current and the Rotten Tomatoes website. It is hosted by Ellen Fox and Brett Erlich and presents a mix of reviews by professional critics and comedians with web-cam reviews sent in by Current users. Users who have their review chosen for the show win $100.
  • SuperNews!, an animated program which started out as a pod based on current events, and is now a full half-hour program.

Hosts on Current TV appear in a set based on The Chemosphere, built by American architect John Lautner in 1960.[3]

Current recently launched Current:News, an hourly news broadcast with news stories submitted and voted for by its online community.

Current TV also gives viewers a chance to win $1000 for making a VCAM advertisement.


After the 2000 U.S. presidential election, Gore and Hyatt wanted to start a conventional cable news network. They were disenchanted with the existing networks, especially CNN. The plan evolved into making a viewer-generated channel aimed at an audience demographic age 18–34.

On May 4, 2004, INdTV Holdings, a company co-founded by Gore and Joel Hyatt, purchased cable news channel NewsWorld International (NWI) from Vivendi Universal for the express purpose of launching their new network with the space on some digital cable lineups (and DirecTV) that NWI had. The new network would not have political leanings, Gore said, but would serve as an "independent voice" for a target audience of people between 18 and 34 "who want to learn about the world in a voice they recognize and a view they recognize as their own." Other reports said that Gore hoped that the channel would help change the tide of "consolidation and conglomeratization" of the media by leading the change to "democratization." The news network was said to be a combination between CNN, MTV, and blipverts.

In the summer of 2004, Gore and Hyatt announced their new network, christened INdTV, with a series of public recruitment events. The first of these events was held at the Bambuddha Lounge in San Francisco's Tenderloin, on August 25. On April 4, 2005, the former Vice President and business partner Hyatt announced that they had changed the name of the network from INdTV to Current. The new television network launched in the United States on August 1, 2005. Currently, the network is available in 30 million homes nationwide in the US, with plans underway for several international versions.

On September 20, 2006, Current TV started a short-lived partnership with Yahoo to supply topic-specific "channels" to the Yahoo Video website. Called the Yahoo! Current Network, the first four channels, "Current Buzz", "Current Traveler" "Current Action" (about action sports) and "Current Driver" quickly became the most popular videos on the Yahoo Video web site. There were Yahoo branded segments on Current TV, similar to the Google Current segments. Additional web channels were planned. However, on December 6, 2006, Yahoo and Current TV announced the end of their relationship.[4] Madeline Smithberg, co-creator of The Daily Show, was the Executive Producer for this project.

On October 6, 2006, a deal was announced with British Sky Broadcasting to create a localized UK and Ireland version of Current TV to its satellite systems in the United Kingdom and Ireland. This version went live on March 12, 2007.[5] The channel launched on Sky EPG number 229 and Virgin Media Channel 155.

In 2007, Current TV started VoD service on Virgin Media.

On January 31, 2007, Current TV launched on Dish Network.

On September 16, 2007, Current TV won an Emmy award for Best Interactive Television Service at the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards. This was the first year in which this Emmy was presented during the primetime broadcast. The award was presented by Masi Oka of Heroes fame and MySpace founder Tom Anderson (through their own computers), and Al Gore and Joel Hyatt accepted the award on their behalf.[6]

On February 8, 2008, it was announced that the network will be also available on the Italian SKY Italia satellite digital platform on channel 130. According to the official website, broadcast has started on May 8, 2008.[7]

On June 6, 2008, it was announced that the network will be also available on the Italian 3 DVB-H mobile operator, as free of charge.[8]

Current TV partnered with Twitter for the 2008 Presidential and Vice-Presidential debates, allowing viewers watching the Current TV version of the debates to post live on Twitter and have their opinions shown on screen, live.

On 28 January, 2009 Current Media Inc, revealed it intended to launch an IPO on the NASDAQ to raise $100m (£67m), but it told US regulators over Easter that it was scrapping the plan due to "current market conditions." [9] The company added that no securities had been sold and all activity regarding the proposed public offering had been "discontinued". [10]

In June 2009, Current TV received approval from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to establish a Canadian version of the channel, which would be a joint venture of Current TV and the CBC, with the CBC taking 80% ownership. The channel will feature at least 35% Canadian content. The new service is planned to begin in fall 2009, pending approval by the Treasury Board. [11] In August 2009 Current celebrated their 4 year birthday.

In late 2009, after the announcement of the Comcast-NBC merger, the Comcast Corporation submitted a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission that revealed it owns a ten percent stake of Current Media LLC.[12]

2009 imprisonment of journalists by North Korea

The North Korean military detained two American journalists working for Current TV in March 2009 after they allegedly crossed into North Korea from China.[13]

"Two reporters working for a U.S.-based Internet news media outlet, including a Korean American, were detained by North Korean authorities earlier this week, and they remain in custody there," said Yonhap news agency, quoting an unnamed diplomatic source. Reports say that the journalists were both warned several times by the North Korean military, about crossing the border.[14]

The two female journalists are Korean American Euna Lee and Taiwanese American Laura Ling of Current TV based in California in the United States. Lee is the editor of the news for Current TV and Ling is one of the agency's reporters. They were said to have been shooting a video of the border region of China and N. Korea when they were arrested at the Tumen River. Laura Ling is the younger sister of CNN reporter Lisa Ling.

The U.S. says they are concerned about the incident.

"We're aware of reports that early in the morning of March 17, China time, two American citizens were taken into custody across the Tumen river by what appear to be North Korean border guards. We are working with Chinese government officials in that particular area to ascertain the whereabouts and welfare of the Americans in question. We've also been in touch with North Korean officials to express our concern about the situation," said U.S. State Department spokesman, Fred Lash.

On March 30, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the state news agency of North Korea, reported that preparations were under way for indictments and a trial, saying, "The illegal entry of US reporters into the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) and their suspected hostile acts have been confirmed by evidence and their statements."[15][16] The two will face trial on June 4.[17]

According to Kim Tae-woo of the Korea Institute for Defense Analysis, “The journalists considerably weakened their government’s leverage against the North,” in ongoing negotiations over the DPRK's nuclear program.[18]

On June 8, Reuters reported that the two reporters were found guilty of illegal entry and committing "hostile acts against the DPRK" and subsequently sentenced to twelve years of hard labor.[19]

On August 4, BBC news reported that they were pardoned amidst a visit by former president Bill Clinton.[20] They were released and returned home the following day. Upon flying home, they were greeted at an airport in Burbank, California.



  6. Al Gore joins Emmy parade,, Sep. 13, 2007, 4:56pm PT
  7. Scopri di più su Current TV (Italian)
  8. 3 Italia: gratis Rai, Mediaset e Current (Italian) La Stampa
  9. "Current TV cancels float due to 'market conditions'". Broadcast. 2009-04-14. 
  10. "Al Gore's Current Media abandons plans for NYSE listing". Media Week. 2009-04-14. 
  11. Broadcaster Magazine: "Current TV Receives CRTC Approval", 6/11/2009.
  15. US reporters face N Korea trial (BBC)
  16. Huffington Post March 30, 2009
  17. "N Korea to try reporters in June". BBC News. 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  22. Karma Air page on Stargazing

External links

Template:Italian television stationscy:Current TV fr:Current TV it:Current TV nl:Current TV pt:Current TV

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