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Posts Tagged ‘Jacob Soboroff’

5 Questions With… Jacob Soboroff, Who Just Had His Show Canceled

JacobWe had an interview scheduled with Pivot’s “TakePart Live” co-anchor Jacob Soboroff this week, but his show was unexpectedly and abruptly canceled before we could actually get together. We spoke with Soboroff anyway, to get talk about his future plans and what he’ll miss about the short-lived nightly news program.

TVNewser: We’re sorry to hear “TakePart Live” has been canceled, how does this experience shape your career?

Soboroff: Hey thanks! It was unreal, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I got to host a live, nightly news and talk show that put Larry King and T-Pain together to auto tune the news and quiz people inside my 2000 Florida recount voting machine on Hollywood Boulevard! Yes, I own a voting machine. I’m a civics nerd.

The cherry on top is working with some of my idols in the industry: Participant Media, a company that cares as much about social change as it does the bottom line, and our production company Embassy Row, the folks behind “Watch What Happens Live” and “Talking Dead,” two shows I love. I think I felt like Kobe must have playing for Phil Jackson in the triangle offense. Or CP3 playing for Doc. Yes, I’m a Clippers fan.

TVNewser: We recently had 5 Questions for your “TPL” co-anchor Baratunde Thurston and he seemed very optimistic about the future of the show. What happened?

Soboroff: I love Baratunde. And Meghan McCain, our third co-host. I’ll miss hanging out with them nightly. I think we made such a fun show, and a different kind of news show. One that put the audience first and was entertaining. I mean we highlighted veterans issues by having me body slammed by a pro wrestler. After hosting “YouTube Nation” this year for YouTube and DreamWorks, and “HuffPost Live” before that, I have seen incredible communities form around news and information shows online. I think it’s harder, but not impossible, to build that kind of interactive community through TV. Also, maybe I should have gotten a haircut. But my wife would not be into that.

TVNewser: So, will you be staying with Pivot in some capacity or moving on? Any projects lined up? Read more

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‘TakePart Live’ Gets Axed by Pivot

304Baratunde_finalPivot’s millennial-driven newscast “TakePart Live” has been canceled. The show was anchored by Meghan McCain, Jacob Soboroff and Baratunde Thurston. We recently profiled Thurston, who seemed optimistic about the future of the program.

A statement released by Pivot:

We thank our hosts and producers, they are incredibly talented and we’re already in discussion to work with them in different ways so that they can continue to have a place on Pivot.

“TakePart Live” premiered in August 2013 when Pivot TV launched. TVNewser will update details as they become available.

5 Questions with… Baratunde Thurston, Taking a Sledgehammer to the Traditional Newscast

304Baratunde_finalBaratunde Thurston is a modern-day Renaissance man. The Co-host of “TakePart Live,” a nightly news program on Pivot, Thurston is also a social commentator who frequently tackles highly charged, emotional issues like race, politics and social justice. In addition, he’s a comedian, speaker, author and co-founded Cultivated Wit, a company that uses humor, design, and technology to produce events like “Comedy Hack Day.”

From 2007 to 2012, Thurston was the politics editor and director of digital for The Onion, which he told us about in a “Media Beat” a few years back.

TVNewser caught up with Thurston to discuss his new show, his Twitter habits and what he’d like to be doing q0 years from now.

TVNewser: As the host of “TakePart Live,” how are you guys trying to break the mold of the “traditional” newscast?

Thurston: Slight correction: I’m a co-host of “TakePart Live” along with Jacob Soboroff and Meghan McCain. I’d hate for this interview to instantly destroy the cohesion of our team! In terms of mold-breaking, here are a few ways.

a) We’re young.

b) We have varying and often opposing opinions on topics.

c) We encourage the audience to actually DO something about the stories we discuss, and not just get excited or enraged. The connection to social action is a big shift, and we’re experimenting with what that means and how to share back with our viewers the impact of what they’ve done.

d) Just before every show, we have a plaster mold made of what a traditional newscast is, and we each take a sledgehammer and smash it.

TVNewser:  How has Twitter changed the way people consume news?

Thurston: Twitter makes it far easier for people to yell back at the news. I think there’s much more news-yelling happening in the world thanks to Twitter, so they’ve got that going for them. But yelling isn’t the only shift. Twitter simplifies the act of following news sources we like, and allows us to connect directly with journalists, sources, subjects and other news consumers, not just with the media outlet. Most significantly, Twitter has made it easy for “people who consume news” to become “people who produce news” especially with first-hand, on the ground reporting during major events like natural disasters or awards shows (which can be hard to differentiate because, have you seen awards shows lately?).

TVNewser: You’re on TV, have a New York Times best-selling book, you’ve also been successful in digital content and even on stage as a live performer. What medium is your favorite and what platform reaches the most people?

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The Evening Ticker: Ward, Leno, Thurston

  • CBS’s Clarissa Ward continues her reporting from inside Syria tonight on the “CBS Evening News.” Last night Ward spoke with a Dutch man turned Syrian rebel. Tonight, she’ll speak with a Somali-American who recently joined Al-Nusra.

  • Jay Leno is close to a deal that would not only land him back on television, but also back with the NBCUniversal family, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Leno’s new show would air on CNBC in primetime and focus on his longtime love of cars.

HuffPost Live Shutters LA Studio, Lays Off Staff

The Huffington Post’s HuffPost Live online video network, is betting big on international growth, part of an effort to become a global video news channel, rather than a U.S. one.

As part of that strategy shift, it has decided to shutter its Los Angeles office and studio, with around 20 staff being laid off or given an opportunity to quickly move to its New York City headquarters. HuffPost Live has around 100 full-time staffers. The news was first reported by VideoInk’s Sahil Patel, with The Verge’s Ben Popper adding more details.

Update: We have a statement from Roy Sekoff, the president of HuffPost Live:

“This isn’t about layoffs; it’s about reallocating resources,” Sekoff says. “We’ve offered more than two-thirds of our full-time production team in L.A. the same, or better, positions in New York.”

HuffPost Live has lost a number of hosts in recent months, mostly to the world of TV news. Alicia Menendez joined Fusion, Abby Hunstman joined MSNBC, and Jacob Soboroff joined Pivot. While it has been transformative in terms of the content it presents, its live viewership has remained low, instead relying heavily on after-the-fact tune-in.

It is also another example of an ambitious, web-first competitor to traditional TV news facing serious growing pains. HuffPost Live is available on cable via a daily programming block on AXS TV, but it has mostly avoided the traditional TV model. Glenn Beck‘s TheBlaze, by comparison, has been trying to gain distribution as a traditional cable channel.

Analysis: A Subtle Change In Branding Marks a Big Change For Fusion

Fusion, the upcoming cable news channel from ABC News and Univision, has ever so slightly shifted its focus, and it is a big deal. The change wasn’t exactly buried in the press release, no, it was right there in the first sentence:

“Fusion, the groundbreaking news, information and lifestyle network for Latinos and millennials, today announced the channel will launch in millions of households nationwide.”

Latinos and millennials. Fusion now wants to become the cable news channel for the under-30 set, in addition to its original positioning as a “news and lifestyle network for U.S. Hispanics,” which is how the channel was described when the name was announced in February.

On the one hand the move is an obvious one. Traditional cable news channels skew old, and in some cases very old. Fox News Channel’s average viewer is over 65, while the average MSNBC or CNN viewer is around 60, according to Nielsen. Your typical cable news anchor or host is an older, white male, with both women and minorities represented well below their representation in the country as a whole.

The median age of U.S. Hispanics is 27, compared to 37 for the country as a whole, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, so targeting that demographic is naturally targeting younger viewers.

Fusion is betting that younger people actually want to get news and analysis from TV, not just from sites like BuzzFeed or The Huffington Post. To that end it has stacked its lineup with young hosts and anchors, although its signature nightly program will be anchored by the decidedly older (albeit well-respected) Jorge Ramos. It is also making a major push for news/satire programming, with a sports news comedy show at launch, and a project with the Jim Henson Company in the works.

Fusion is not the only channel trying to enter the space, others have the same idea too.
Read more

The PM Ticker: Soboroff, Phillips, Aaronson

  • Former NBC News anchor Stone Phillips will be on the July 30 edition of Golf Channel’s news magazine show “In Play with Jimmy Roberts.” Phillips will report on the tricky debate over golf course water usage and conservation.

  • Al Jazeera America is adding Trevor Aaronson to its investigative journalism unit. A veteran of the Miami New Times and Commercial Appeal, he is also co-founder and associate director of the nonprofit Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.