Gore's viewer-created TV
Television insiders and pundits mocked Al Gore and Joel Hyatt a year ago when the pair introduced Current TV, their San Francisco-based cable and satellite channel. Even after critics saw that the ex-vice president and Democratic Party fundraiser weren't crafting a left-wing network, few in the change-averse world of television could understand why anyone would tune into Current's programming motif: three- to seven-minute videos created by emerging filmmakers, citizen journalists and the most rank of amateurs -- the viewers themselves.
Soon after Current's premiere, the Wall Street Journal described it this way: "Newsless, often clueless and usually dull, the new channel is a limp noodle." Plus, Current was carried in only 17 million households, making it the equivalent of a one-stoplight town in the television universe. Big advertisers don't start calling until a network can be seen in 40 million households.