New Conservative Cable News Network Aims to Feature 'Intelligent, Healthy Debate'
Charles Herring has noticed that viewers who have tired of television have retreated to the web, where a burgeoning industry of right-leaning media outlets has gained readers. He's hoping to win some back to cable television with the debut of One America News network, which is launching on July 4 in partnership with the Washington Times.
"A number of conservative websites have done extremely well over the last couple of years," says Herring, the president of the forthcoming network, in a phone interview with The Hollywood Reporter from the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington D.C.
"I think the reason for that is because TV viewers are not being fulfilled, they are having a hard time finding voices that speak to them on television, and they’re turning to the Internet," he said, adding: "We hope to bring some of those viewers back to conventional cable television."
San Diego-based Herring Broadcasting is the sole investor behind One America News. Upon launch, the channel is expected to be seen in a "minimum of 10 to 15 million homes," Herring told THR. In comparison, Fox News and MSNBC reach over 90 million homes, and even Current TV (which was recently sold to Al Jazeera) reaches 60 million homes.
Herring describes the network's nonexclusive partnership with the conservative-leaning newspaper the Washington Times as a matter of logistics. "Our primary interest was ensuring that we had production facilities in Washington D.C.," he says. "We’re real pleased that they are close to the capitol [and] they had space available. In addition, they provide a source for content, with about 90 reporters sitting in the building."
At launch, One America News on-air talent includes Rick Amato, a radio host and columnist for the Washington Times, Dr. Gina Loudon, a political commentator who has appeared on Fox News, and Graham Ledger, who hosts a show covering international news on WealthTV. The channel will feature national as well as international news programming along with talk shows featuring conservative and libertarian viewpoints.
Herring Broadcasting founded WealthTV, a channel that chronicles "how wealth is achieved, used and enjoyed," in 2004. Herring says that WealthTV reaches an estimated 16 million homes and is currently profitable.
As far as eventually competing with Fox News, Herring describes One America News as complementary to that network. “It will be center-right, with the opinions of independents, libertarians and all conservatives expressed," he says. "Really what we’re looking for is healthy debate -- intelligent, healthy debate."