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TV critics got an early taste of what forthcoming channel Viceland has in store.
Following a lengthy, colorful and millenial-minded clip reel to kick off its session at the Television Critics Association press tour Wednesday, the channel, which will replace A+E’s History spin-off H2 Feb. 29th, invited a mix of diverse filmmakers on stage to showcase edgy titles like F*ck That’s Delicious, Weediquette and Ellen Page’s anticipated Gaycation.
As for the common thread between Viceland’s shows and its storytellers, the company’s longtime creative director Spike Jonze suggested that he and Vice boss Shane Smith found themselves attracted to people “with a point of view.” And the push into 24-hour linear TV allows them the kinds of budgets to tell these stories that they wouldn’t have had online.
The opportunity to launch Viceland — a project that’s more than a year in the making — was so compelling that Jonze put his Oscar-winning film career on hold. “This is all I’ve been doing for the last year,” he said, before suggesting that his work at Viceland is “just a different type of film for me.”
Jonze earned the bulk of the questions as reporters looked to wrap their heads around the network’s plans. He told the room that both the episode orders and lengths of Viceland’s series, all of them unscripted and none of them currently fronted by Smith, will vary depending on the creative needs of the shows. Some will be four, others eight, he explained, adding that a half-hour show could easily expand to an hour if the filmmaker has more story to share.
The remainder of Viceland’s time before the media was dedicated to the dozen-plus filmmakers, who offered elevator pitches for their respective shows. F*ck that’s Delicious, as described by creator-host Action Bronson, will follow him and his friends around the world while he eats, raps and seeks adventures. Weediquette, according to host Krishna Andavolu, will be “a weed show” with “weedy adventures” that also delves into the emotional and human stories surrounding the subject.
And Page’s Gaycation explores, as she puts it, “what it means to be LGBT all around the world.” One episode, which was teased in the Vice reel and in an extensive New York Times Magazine profile, will feature the Hollywood starlet-turned-lesbian activist going toe-to-toe with Republican presidential nominee Ted Cruz on LGBT issues at an Iowa state fair.
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