Online channel TakePart TV aims to face the 'big issues'
Online channel TakePart TV aims to face the 'big issues'
Frazier Moore / The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Hey, YouTubers! Have you danced your fill to “Gangnam Style”? Have you seen enough versions of “Call Me Maybe”?
Now video grazers can check out a brand-new YouTube channel that promises to be as amusing as any cat on a skateboard but also to engage you with ideas for changing the world.
TakePart TV, which launched Tuesday, is a digital home for what the network has termed “clever, eye-opening and optimistic content around big issues that face our planet.” The target audience is millennials ranging from teenage to 30.
One of YouTube’s new 100-channel portfolio, TakePart TV will deliver original programming that consists of news, short-form comedy, animation and nonfiction series featuring such names as Henry Rollins, Dan Savage and Kobe Bryant.
“The mission of this channel is to create awesome stuff for people who give a s---,” says Evan Shapiro, president of Participant Television. “But what we want to do is not just give them stuff that entertains them, but stuff they want to spread around: The great thing about the Internet is, you’re just a click away from sharing your favorite content with a million people.”
The network’s flagship show is “BFD: Brain Food Daily,” whose five correspondents will focus on sex, power, media, mind and the planet. Topics this week include “The Price of Vice: Making Money by Legalizing Sex, Drugs and Gambling” and “Five Worst Hells: Countdown of the World’s Worst Afterlives.”
Other TakePart TV fare includes:
• “American Savage”: Columnist-podcaster-pundit Dan Savage sounds off on such topics as sex, religion and politics.
• “Compton Cricket”: This docuseries will follow an effort to introduce troubled youth in Compton, Calif., to the gentleman’s game of cricket, fusing them into an exceptional team.
• “Mission”: Basketball great Kobe Bryant heads to Los Angeles’ Skid Row to investigate the plague of homelessness.
• “Capitalism”: Poet-writer-activist Henry Rollins hits the campaign trail with a two-month odyssey to all 50 state capitals, fueled by his own vision of the issues driving the election.
In discussing the potential for TakePart TV, Shapiro points to the thousands of “Call Me Maybe” covers and parodies that sprang up in response to the original by Carly Rae Jepsen. He cites the hundreds of millions of viewings of South Korean rapper PSY’s “Gangnam Style.”
What would happen if such interest and viral response were spurred by issues TakePart TV’s audience embraces as socially significant?
“This generation cares, and they’re looking to be part of something larger than themselves,” says Shapiro. “We’re giving them that — something actionable on a daily basis — as well as something to enjoy.”
TakePart TV is the first effort by Participant Television, which Shapiro joined last May after previously serving as president of IFC TV and Sundance Television. He has executive produced such documentaries and series as “This Film Is Not Yet Rated,” and the Peabody Award-winning “Brick City” and “Portlandia.”
“Television is not a box, a place or a time slot,” says Shapiro. “It’s an exchange of values between an artist and an audience. TakePart TV is a piece of television that happens to be online.”
Meanwhile, Participant Television has “big plans” for programming on TV as well, he adds.
Parent company Participant Media has produced fiction and nonfiction films including “Charlie Wilson’s War,” “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Good Night and Good Luck” and “The Help,” as well as the upcoming Steven Spielberg-directed biopic “Lincoln.”
Now, with TakePart TV, it aims to bring social relevance to online video.
“It’s meant to be entertaining and fun, raw and viral,” says Shapiro. “And it’s meant to have a brain. If there are kittens on skateboards, they’ll have something to say.”
Rocker, writer and activist Henry Rollins will have his own show on TakePart TV, a brand-new YouTube channel.
The holiest plant of the Christmas season may be a raggedy shrub with peeling bark that seems to grow best in a dusty backyard in Tempe, Ariz. This is Boswellia sacra, better known as the frankincense tree. The shrub’s gum resin is one of the three biblical gifts that the wise men bestowed on the infant Jesus. Until recently, Americans who wished to cultivate their…
FRESNO, Calif. — Federal law now allows visitors to carry guns in national parks, but you can’t just slip a loaded pistol into your backpack and take a hike. Pay attention, because this is a little complicated. You will need a concealed weapons permit to carry the loaded gun in the backpack. But you don’t need any kind of permit if you just want to…
Move over, large lap pools. Smaller swimming holes are making a big splash. Sure, the economy is playing a role in making this luxury littler: Smaller pool equals smaller budget. But it's more than that, says Brett Berry, owner of Landscape Renderings, a Missouri business that designs and builds outdoor living environments. “You can create a fantastic sense of intimacy and atmosphere with a small…
A few weeks ago, a reader sent me an eloquent email complaining about a story in which I'd suggested paddling on the northern branch of Sparks Lake as an alternative to more crowded portions of the popular lake. The writer said that over the decades, he'd seen Central Oregon “loved to death. ” Now, powder is tracked out in 30 minutes, Sparks Lake is always…
A barred owl that drew crowds of onlookers while swooping around at Farewell Bend Park earlier this year may well be dead. The owl was seen from mid-January into last month, regularly hunting for mice and voles along the Deschutes River just upstream of the Old Mill District. It then disappeared about a month ago. Two photographers found a dead owl March 3 about 10…