Since our beloved NewsWorld International channel bit the dust to make way for Al Gore’s Current TV, I’ve been scouring the web for reviews. I’ve found them.
Things don’t look good for this supposedly cutting edge sattelite channel.
Here’s what the critics are saying about Al’s attempt to re-invent television by broadcasting (and re-broadcasting and re-broadcasting and re-broadcasting) those seven minute documentaries called pods, aimed at 18 to 34 year olds:
Christopher Flickinger of Human Events Online:
“I’ve never seen a more mind-numbing television network than this one. Viewers could find more educational content on the back of a milk carton than they could by subjecting themselves to Current TV. “
Lena Berkowitz, Houston Chronicle
“On the first day of broadcasting, Current TV seemed a lot like a grown-up version of Sesame Street — without the Muppets.”
She goes on to note that the same pods were repeated dozens of times throughout the day.
Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune:
“Ever have a teacher who tried way too hard to be ‘down’ with the kids? Who never knew that he was using out-of-date lingo or patronizing the intelligence of the people he wanted to befriend?
If you have a masochistic desire to spend hours with that kind of person, you could always tune into Current TV, a new cable channel that debuted in 20 million homes nationwide on Monday. (August 1, 2005)”
Heather Havrilesky of Salon.com:
“The hosts not only introduce each segment with inane, bubbly comments that make it sound far more fluffy and empty than it is, but they reappear after each segment to sum up their feelings about what happened. This is why we know that watching a pod about dating in Iran makes former Miss USA Shauntay Hinton realize 'how lucky I am to be free to do what the hell I wanna do! Yeah!'...As a result, tuning in to Current TV sometimes feels like going to see a moving documentary with a semiliterate preteen who insists on recasting the entire story in the shallowest of terms the second the credits start to roll."
I’ve watched snippets of Current TV since its debut (OK, I said earlier that I'd delete the channel, but I figure I should at least take a look to see if it improves) Here’s a few examples of cutting edge programming. After the birth of their daughter, a young couple discovers baby poop is smelly. Looking for real estate in New York, a young couple discovers that it’s outrageously expensive. After getting married, a young couple discovers they fight about money. After Paris Hilton’s Blackberry was stolen, Current TV staffer Jason Gunn discovers his phone number was posted on the web and he gets lots of weird phone calls.
After about two minutes of watching Current TV, I discover I want to watch something else.
My own opinion is that the Nothing Longer Than Seven Minutes format will kill this network. At best, Current TV provides something to watch during the three or four minutes of commercials showing on real television. If viewers are only clicking over and clicking back for three or four minutes at a time, they sure as hell aren’t going to stick around for the commercials. Not a good idea if you need to sell ad time to make money.
I’m predicting that Current TV will gone by September.