The weekly show could launch as soon as fall 2012 and will be developed with Vice Media, known for coverage of drug use and global human rights violations. The working title of Vice TV will be a newsmagazine inspired by the videos that the company currently produces for the web. Shane Smith, one of Vice’s founders, calls it “’60 Minutes for young people.”
Programming could include segments on everything from slave labor in the Sudan or wars in the Congo to America’s methamphetamine epidemic. Comedian/political satirist Bill Maher, who currently hosts a talker on HBO, has signed on as an executive producer of the show and may appear on it.
“We effectively have one of the largest news agencies in the world but we want a larger platform,” Smith told WSJ.
Vice Media also weighed offers from several top broadcast news networks before deciding to partner with HBO. “Plus, we swear like sailors, so we figured we could keep more of our own voice on HBO, where they aren’t afraid to stir things up,” Smith added.
Vice will likely have to shoot a pilot before HBO completely agrees to air the series.
The new program adds to the HBO’s efforts to capture a younger audience with such programming. HBO’s average subscriber is in his or her late 30s. Next year, the network is also adding “Girls,” a comedy created by 25-year-old directing prodigy Lena Dunham about a group of girls in their 20s trying to make their way in New York.