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Al Gore's INdTV: The People's Programmer

By Richard Leiby
Tuesday, January 4, 2005; Page C03

Tuning in to Gore TV: Little is publicly known about the cable news network planned by almost-president Al Gore except that it will be called INdTV (say it like "indie"), aims to wow the youth market, has set up shop in San Francisco and is supposed to launch this year. But what kind of shows will it carry?

We've received a glimpse of some of the programming envisioned by INdTV execs, who just sent out an e-mail to prospective "digital correspondents," seeking edgy video submissions to serve as pilots. Gore's programming gurus say they hope to "democratize television" by relying on Generation Y contributors and "real-life video." An insider cautioned us yesterday that the e-mail represents just a sliver of the conceptual pie, but the potential must-see lineup includes:

The former vice president isn't saying what his planned cable news network will carry, but an insider's e-mail indicates that Paris Hilton's thoughts on the armored Humvee shortage or reports on middle-of-the-night hot spots would make fine fodder. (Stephen M. Katz, The Virginian-Pilot - washingtonpost.com)

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"That's F*&#ed Up: Is there something unfathomable going on around the corner or down the street? Some state of affairs that just doesn't make sense? You can rant all you want -- it just better be good TV."

• "INdTV Paparazzi: Get someone famous to opine on something substantive. ('Hey Paris -- what did you think of Rumsfeld's quote on the armored Humvee shortage in Iraq?') Or, ask a serious figure about something not-so-substantive. Note: Don't be a stalker."

• "Citizen Reporter: Pick a news story and tell it the way it should be told. No teleprompter, no static stand-ups, no local-news hair. Honesty and humor will go a long way. This is our chance to unwind the spin."

• "All-Nighter: What goes on in your town between 2 and 5 a.m.? We're looking for truly unique stuff, anywhere from the local late-night diner to the woods down by the creek."

• "State of the Union: Give us your wisest, most irreverent State of the Union address. We're talking improvised podium, pomp, politics, personality and, of course, most importantly: sound bites."

• "Addicted: What's your addiction? Food? A fetish? A relationship? Do you lead a double life? This is first-person: time to confess."

(But the e-mail warns elsewhere, "No X-rated content." Drat.)

• "INdTV Is The New Black: Are you a trend-spotter? A cool-hunter? Take off your trucker cap (or put it back on) and show us the next big thing in clothes, culture, style or slang."

(Dare we ask: Are earth tones hip again?)

The cable channel, which Gore and his investors reportedly acquired last year for $70 million, isn't paying contributors unless it accepts their one-to-five-minute segments for use in an industry preview. In that case, INdTV will pony up $200, which grants it the right to use the video "in all markets and media . . . throughout the universe, in perpetuity," according to a contract sent to contributors.

Gore's office referred questions yesterday to INdTV execs. Network CEO Joel Hyatt, Gore's business partner, would not comment.

The Inaugural Committee's Purely Artistic License

• Every four years supporters of the winning presidential candidate get to show their glee by buying inaugural license plates to be displayed on their vehicles from Jan. 1 to April 30. But not this year: The popular plates, first used for Franklin D. Roosevelt's inaugural in 1933, have been nixed by the District's Department of Motor Vehicles.

Display it proudly, only not on your car. (gopshoppe.com)
We're assured that this isn't a Democratic plot. In years past, the DMV registered and issued the tags to anyone from any state, but it recently determined in a legal review that the practice was not, well, legal. "We have no right to register people in Ohio or Tennessee" or anywhere else, Anne Witt, DMV director, told us yesterday. The Presidential Inaugural Committee thus decided to issue plates only for commemorative use.

The public can order sets of Bush-Cheney plates for $35 and $50 at GOPshoppe.com, but only official inaugural vehicles, such as the president's limo, can legally sport the red, white and blue 2005 tags.


• Miss congeniality indeed: Actress Sandra Bullock has donated $1 million to the American Red Cross to help its tsunami relief efforts in southern Asia and eastern Africa. The organization praised her yesterday as "a model for personal generosity." Bullock also gave the Red Cross $1 million after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

• Will he or won't he? "Crossfire" pundit Tucker Carlson continues to artfully dodge reporters who want to know whether he's headed for a hosting gig at MSNBC now that his CNN contract has expired. "Everyone's been nice to me," he told the Los Angeles Times in an article published yesterday. It must be that cute bow tie.

With Anne Schroeder

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