Thursday, August 1, 2013

Fusion Could Be The Only Surviving New Cable News Network

Fusion, a joint venture between ABC and Univision, is slated to launch on October 28th. The new network is having difficulty gaining carriage (no deals with Comcast and TWC yet) but based on the descriptions of what is going to be on the network; it looks like it could be a major winner on television.

Kicking off primetime at 6pm will be a host who is not Latino known as Derrick Ashong, he'll be hosting an interactive news broadcast which will heavily feature social media. At 7pm, Alicia Menendez takes over with a more traditional cable news show about politics from her viewpoint.


Jorge Ramos, will get an hour at 8pm, where he will specifically breakdown news stories from a Latino viewpoint and cover news stories which are mostly relevant to young Latinos. A comedy sports talk show will proceed at 9pm followed by a news satire show in the vein of Jon Stewart and finally another talk show from a Latino perspective with Leon Krauze.

Potential to Succeed 

The reason why I believe there's a lot of hope for this network to succeed is because it's different (for the most part) from what cable news is today. Ashong's telecast will be using viewers real time via social media as pundits/co-hosts while Alicia Menendez will provide a younger, progressive perspective that isn't really on cable news today.

Fusion is also truly "expanding the definition of news" by opening up it's daily schedule for sports, which is an area that isn't covered in a big way on cable news. It's lead investigative correspondent, Mariana Van Zeller, has been reporting on things such as bath salts and the easy exchange of guns which are interesting, unique and haven't been covered by other big major orgs extensively. 

These are the kinds of reports that truly make a difference and cause people to think, unlike reporting daily on the lack of agreement between Congress and the White House which no one cares about.

On the weekends, the network will also provide lifestyle programming that is different from what we usually see on cable news. One show will follow a doctor looking for exotic medicines and strange cures for diseases which are unknown, while another show will follow celebs and their families back to their place of origin.


The Ramos Factor

There are still a couple of things I find troubling. One is Jorge Ramos. Will he be able to maintain his credibility as a straight anchor/journalist while also playing the role of the Latino Bill O'Reilly? He has to find a way of commentating on political stories using a common sense approach rather than the left or right angle, similar to what Walter Cronkite did and what fictional Will McAvoy does on "The Newsroom". 

There's no problem stating your opinion, but if you always lean to a certain angle like the O'Reillys and Maddows of the world, your credibility as a journalist goes down the drain in the English speaking world. The Spanish speaking world has always known Ramos is opinionated but the English speaking world who doesn't understand Spanish and doesn't watch his nightly newscast might've thought that Ramos was only an anchorman with no opinions spoken in public.

If Ramos starts to lean a certain way through this show, it may prevent him from booking the interviews he's always gotten before with newsmakers from both sides of the angle. But if he provides a straight down the narrow, common sense perspective; he'll be able to do something no one has really achieved in today's age of journalism. Have the ability to state your opinion while keeping your credibility as a straight, fair journalist.

Isn't This Channel For Millenials?

Something else I found interesting is that Ramos and Leon Krauze were able to get shows of their own. The audience which they usually reach is an older generation. Will younger generation Latinos really want to hear news from someone who their parents also watch? Will these hosts be able to even provide the correct perspective of a young Latino in their telecasts? 

Not Much ABC

I don't see a lot of ABC in this venture. Some new press releases have pointed out that while Fusion is keeping their Latino perspective, their main focus is millenials and young people of all races. I'm curious as to why more young ABC faces such as Rob Nelson, Matt Gutman, Gio Benitez, Paula Faris, Biana Goldryga etc. aren't being seen as main faces of this network.

Why This Network Will Last Longer Than The Others

ABC and Univision have delicately planned this venture for a long time and it looks like in the long run, they'll be the biggest winner and the last man standing when it comes to which one of the new cable news networks will survive. Here's why.

1. They've ACTUALLY broadened the definition of news and won't just stick to politics

2. They'll integrate social media into their programming's elements rather than just throw it in there like what most telecasts on CNN/Fox/MSNBC have done

3. They'll also delve into lifestyle programming and documentaries which tackle subjects that aren't covered in depth but are very relatable and interesting to young audiences

4. Pivot is a copy cat of the first incarnation of Current, with the exception of the addition of entertainment programs. It'll eventually turn into a full fledged 24 hour YouTube network

5. Al Jazeera America is a copy cat of CNN with no niche or differences or compelling programming that makes it different. It'll be shut down or just a simulcast of Al Jazeera English by fall 2015, unless they change their program strategy.

6. Univision's world class journalism will finally have a concrete platform to be broadcast in English

7. ABC finally has a place to air extensions of their news programming and interviews which they can't fit on their shows and get lost in the internet


If they can get wide distribution, they'll become bigger competition for CNN than MSNBC currently is on nights that aren't politically active. And if a major story with dealing with Latino issues in the next couple of years breaks or they're able to get a debate in the 2016 presidential election, they could definitely beat Fox in the demo.


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