- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 31, 2005

Current’ affair

Much of the talk around Al Gore’s new Current cable network has been broadly philosophical, like the former vice president’s statement that “we want to be the television home page for the Internet generation.” Yet with its debut tonight, Current will be judged by the same mundane standards as other TV networks on whether its programming can hold a viewer’s interest.

About 20 million homes (out of about 110 million nationally) will get Current right away through their cable providers.

Mr. Gore and his fellow investors envision Current as a sounding board for young people, a step beyond traditional notions of interactivity. They want viewers to contribute much of the network’s content now that quality video equipment is widely available.

According to material viewed by Associated Press on Current’s Web site, it seems like a hipper, more irreverent version of traditional TV newsmagazines. Most of its programming will be in “pods,” roughly two to seven minutes long, covering topics like jobs, technology, spirituality and current events. An Internet-like on-screen progress bar will show the pod’s length.

Its short films include a profile of a hang glider and a piece on working in a fish market. One contributor talked about what it was like to have his phone number on a hacked Internet list of Paris Hilton’s cell phone contacts, saying that dealing with curiosity seekers was like “hosting your own radio call-in show,” AP reports.

‘Inside’ out

Fox Entertainment President Peter Liguori takes full responsibility for the failure of the summer profiler series’ “The Inside.”

“I’ll take the heat on how that show was scheduled,” Zap2it.com quotes Mr. Liguori as saying. “I think if I could rethink that decision, the way to have premiered that show would have been a bit earlier, right on the heels of ‘24’s‘ finale, right on the heels of ‘American Idol’s‘ finale.”

Instead, “The Inside” premiered on June 8 and promptly fell off most viewers’ radar.

Despite Mr. Liguori’s promises that Fox will air all of “The Inside’s” remaining episodes, the show will remain off the Wednesday schedule for the next two weeks in favor of expanded 90-minute episodes of the reality show “So You Think You Can Dance,” followed by “dance themed” episodes of “The Bernie Mac Show,” according to a Fox statement.

Meanwhile, Zap2it.com reports that “Inside” stars Rachel Nichols and Peter Coyote have both jumped ship over to ABC for the fifth season of “Alias” and the new presidential drama “Commander In Chief” respectively.

Change at ‘SNL’

Kenan Thompson and Finesse Mitchell have been featured players on “Saturday Night Live” the past two seasons.

Will they make it to a third season?

“Too early to say, but more than likely,” Lorne Michaels, the show’s executive producer, told Cox News Service.

Mr. Michaels is holding auditions and will have a new cast by mid-August, Cox reports.

And he also has to worry about —at least temporarily — filling two slots for two pregnant cast members: Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph.

Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from staff and wire reports.

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