- The Washington Times - Monday, April 4, 2005

Gore TV has arrived at last.

Al Gore announced yesterday that his long-awaited cable network — dubbed Current — will debut Aug. 1.

“Young adults have a powerful voice, but you can’t hear that voice on television … yet,” said Mr. Gore, who has aimed the 24-hour news channel at 18- to 34-year-olds who are preoccupied with the Internet.

Mr. Gore was adamant his endeavor was ideology-free.

“We have no interest in being a TV version of Air America,” he said, referring to the liberal radio network that celebrated its first anniversary last week. “We’ll engage in the dialogue of democracy.”

With shortlists of presidential hopefuls in circulation, some wonder if the network is meant to woo young voters for Democrats in 2008.

The Current mission statement claims the network is not “DNC TV” — Democratic National Committee TV — and will offer “new voices, not by broadcasting one point of view.”

Collaborating with the online search engine Google, programming will “buck conventional news practices” by reporting topics “people are actually searching for right now,” the network noted.

Speaking from Current’s new San Francisco offices, Mr. Gore claimed he wanted to lend “a national platform to those who are hungry to help create the TV they want to watch.”

Young viewers are “collaborators,” he said, and have been invited to submit their own videos and ideas to the Web site (www.current.tv).

On-air talent will include former MTV contributor Laura Ling, Gotham Chopra — former correspondent with the educational network Channel One and son of author Deepak Chopra — and Google content producer Conor Knighton.

While Current brass includes Google co-founder Sergey Brin, former MCA executive Mark Goldman and former CNN programming honcho David Neuman, the network’s pedigree reveals some serious Democratic power players.

Talk that the former vice president aspired to be a media mogul first surfaced almost two years ago with rumors Mr. Gore hoped to buy NWI, a 24-hour Canadian news channel, with trial lawyer Joel Hyatt — former finance chairman for the Democratic National Committee.

Mr. Hyatt also ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for the Senate seat from Ohio in 1994, hoping to replace his father-in-law, Howard Metzenbaum.

Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt joined with Manhattan media financier Steve Rattner, an adviser to the John Kerry presidential campaign and once in line for Treasury Department secretary if a Kerry Cabinet had come to pass.

With the help of such investors as Ronald W. Burkle, Democratic Party contributor and billionaire chum of former President Bill Clinton, the trio purchased Toronto-based NWI from Vivendi Universal last May for $70 million and turned it into Current.

Current — to be carried by DirecTV, Comcast and Time Warner cable system — will be offered initially in 19 million homes.

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