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Vice Talks Cable TV Programming at Brief NewFront Presentation

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At this year's Vice NewFront, the talk was entirely about cable TV. That's unusual, since newfronts are for publishers to show their upcoming online video programs to advertisers. But there's nothing usual about a Vice NewFront. For one thing, Shane Smith, Vice's co-founder and CEO, was inebriated at the start ("My assistant tried to cut me off," he said), as he was last year, as well. For another thing, the event felt like a long open bar interrupted by a brief announcement.

There were two things on Smith's mind this year, not counting the open bar. One was the company's recent expansion of its HBO news show. Announced in late March, Vice has a new four-year contract with HBO that will expand its weekly news show to five days per week, as well as a number of specials. Smith called the deal the biggest episode buy in HBO history.

"We can do whatever the **** we want to do for news for HBO. Never been done before. **** yeah," Smith noted.

Smith called Vice creative director Spike Jonze to the stage to talk about programming for Vice's upcoming cable channel. News broke days ago that Vice will launch a channel reportedly in early 2016, and that it will take the place of A+E's H2 network.

"We're doing TV because we have a company full of amazing creative voices," Jonze said. He and others have created 20 shows in the last 6 months, and 8 of them have started production. All have a point of view and are personal, he said. "That's the intention—to make television that feels personal."

The brief newfront ended with a reel showing clips from the produced shows, which include Black Market With Michael K. Williams, Vice World of Sports, Vice Portraits With Marc Maron, Fashion Week International, Gaycation With Ellen Page, Huang's World (hosted by chef Eddie Huang), Noisy, Motherboard, Weediquette, and **** That's Delicious.

Then the announcement was over, and it was back to the party.


Spike Jonze and Shane Smith at the Vice NewFront.

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