Entertainment

CBC partners with Gore to bring Current TV to Canada

Current TV, the interactive television network with one-third of its content created by media-savvy viewers, is coming to Canada.

Current TV, the interactive television network with one-third of its content created by media-savvy viewers, is coming to Canada.

CBC said Monday it has struck a deal with Al Gore's Current TV to create a website and digital special channel called Current Canada.

An application has been made to the federal broadcast regulator for a digital channel, but the website and channel are unlikely to be up until the end of 2009, according to CBC spokesman Jeff Keay.

CBC will have a controlling interest in Current Canada, but the nationwide channel is expected to pay its own way through advertising and other forms of revenue generation.

The channel is designed to appeal to young adult audiences by engaging them in creating video for the website and TV channel and commenting on other people's work. User-generated content that gets a following online has a better chance of going to air.

For example, the Current TV website in the U.S. invites viewers to choose which news stories seem most important to them.

The U.S. channel has work by musicians and artists as well as by web video makers interested in issues or youth culture.

In line with federal broadcasting rules, 35 per cent of the content on Current Canada will be Canadian. All user-generated content would be moderated by a team of Canadian producers.

"Current Canada will have the potential to dramatically alter the way Canadians interact with both television and online programming," Richard Stursberg, executive vice-president of CBC English Services, said in a statement.

"Based on the successful model of Current TV in the United States, the U.K. and Italy, we intend to fundamentally redefine some basic elements of how programs are created and evaluated. This includes the interesting notion of who gets to create programming."

At least a third of programming will be user-generated, but Keay said he did not know what other content would be shown. It would not be programming from CBC's main network, Newsworld or Bold, he said.

Former U.S. vice-president and environmental campaigner Gore bought Newsworld International in 2004 and created a 24-hour channel, Current TV, which is now available in 58 million households around the world.