When HBO recently set up their years-long deal with VICE, it seemed like the premium network had completely locked up the news empire’s hold on TV audiences. But that won’t be the case, as Vice Media is set to get its own TV channel by rebranding History’s H2, and their biggest selling points initially will be a pronounced decrease in commercials and an increase in Kanye West.
The world first got wind of the network switch last week when Vice Media gave its upfront presentation, but due to holdouts from DirecTV and other distributors, the announcement hasn’t been made official just yet. Once the deals with the holdouts have been finagled, then everything can move forward.
One of the first ways Vice will flip the script on general cable programming is by cutting down on commercials, aiming for less than the 15-20 minutes of advertising that networks give their one-hour blocks. They also plan on offering “different formats” for the ads, according to Capital New York, although no specifics were given as to what changes would be made. They’ll also offer integrated sponsorships to companies the same way they handle their web-based advertising.
According to those present in meetings between Vice Media and agencies and advertisers, they’re working with Kanye West and Spike Jonze on a series. While initial reports claimed this would be a docu-series utilizing multiple formats to bring viewers into West’s life and mind, Vice officially shot those rumors down, stating there is nothing concrete as far as the concept and title goes.
A music-centered program is also in the works from the band Arcade Fire and director Roman Coppola. Reportedly titled Here Comes the Nighttime, the show will pair popular bands with popular comedians, with Michael Cera and Zach Galifianakis getting namechecked. The concept is based on a concert special for NBC that Arcade Fire and Vice put together in 2013. Spike Jonze worked on that special, too.
Another big change coming to the Vice network is that, for the time being, they won’t be showing any news-related programming, as not to butt heads with their soon-to-be-multiple HBO series. As such, everything you see on the channel will fall on the entertainment spectrum, and Vice’s president Andrew Creighton said that even if they “do silly subjects, we will do them in a smart way.” So they’re at least shooting for something higher than the lowest common denominator, and they’re reportedly porting some of their already existing YouTube series like Fuck, That’s Delicious to TV. (Fact: everybody needs more Action Bronson chowing down in their lives.) New series that were named include an interview show called Vice Portraits with Marc Maron and an extreme sports program called Vice World of Sports.
Expect for legal matters to be handled in the near future, and an official program lineup to be released shortly thereafter.