HBO has always been a fan of its documentary-style news production VICE. Last year, the subscription cable network showed confidence in the series by renewing it for two more seasons. Now, HBO and VICE have entered into a “major content deal” that has see the network up its commitment to VICE through 2018. In addition, fans of the hit program will now be getting a slew of additional episodes each season, and will get a daily newscast that will air on the network. Yeah, there's gonna be a lot of VICE.
Shane Smith’s VICE TV series first began airing on the network back in 2013, with a 10-episode order, which was soon upped to 14. The newest deal will increase the episode ante quite a bit, with 35 episodes of the weekly series airing each year. In addition, 32 long-form journalism specials will be produced to run on the network between now and 2018. If you are a fan of the show, the good news doesn’t even stop there.
In addition to all of the weekly and long-form content that will now be heading to the subscription cable network, HBO will now air new episodes of a VICE half-hour newscast on weeknights each week. Those newscasts will air pretty consistently, too, hitting the schedule for 48 weeks during the year.
The program is known for its heavy-hitting journalism, tackling topics from Iraqi toxic wastes to Chinese ghost cities to the disparaging state of the south side of Chicago. More recent episodes have looked at cocaine trafficking in South America and Africa, the protests in Ferguson, MO following the shooting of Michael Brown, even and the changing shape of our continents, thanks to melting ice and rising water.
This is big news for HBO, a network that currently is not in the weekly newscast game. Seriously, it’s prodigious news. Adding news programming every day will be a true test for the subscription cable network, but if it does well, it opens up the landscape for HBO to be able to produce more content more days during the week, and to be taken as seriously for news as it is taken for scripted programming and documentaries. If VICE’s weekday half-hour show proves to do well, what’s to stop HBO from adding more programming of the same ilk to it’s lineup? I, for one, wouldn’t mind seeing John Oliver on the network every day (although his current show obviously lends itself better to a once-a-week format).
HBO wasn’t clear when all of the VICE additions will begin rolling out, but the once-a-week TV program currently airs on Fridays at 11 p.m. ET.