USA TODAY US Edition
TAKE A TRIP TO VICELAND
New cable channel hopes you’ll join them for ‘Gaycation,’ ‘Weediquette’ and more offbeat fare
Music, food, travel, marijuana and comedy are refracted through the Vice prism in Viceland, a new cable channel that begins its original programming lineup Tuesday.
Viceland, which replaces A&E Networks’ H2, is a new outpost for Vice Media, the growing mobile and digital media company that aims for a diverse audience of young adults. While Vice continues as a news program on HBO, Viceland will focus more on lifestyle.
“It’s an exploration of the world around us through interesting, unique people,” says Eddy Moretti, co-president of Viceland along with director Spike Jonze ( Her, Adapta
tion). “It is connected to all of the interests and passions that Vice has, excluding the straight-up news elements. We let ourselves be looser (and) the shows more experiential.”
Viceland, which is available in about 70 million homes, displays its non-traditional approach with Monday’s launch, presenting 13 hours of phone messages from people offering suggestions for the network. The prime-time lineup premieres Tuesday through Thursday, with first episodes already available online.
Viceland programs feature intriguing mixes, including Noisey (Tuesday, 10 p.m. ET/PT), a music-documentary series that explores sociopolitical issues;
F---, That’s Delicious (Thursday, 10 p.m. ET/PT), which focuses on rapper Action Bronson’s love of different cuisines; and
Gaycation (Wednesday, 10 p.m.), a travel show hosted by actress Ellen Page and her best friend, Ian Daniel, that explores LGBTQ culture around the world.
“I love travel shows. That was the really exciting thing for me,” says Page ( Juno, Freeheld), who traveled to Japan, Brazil, Jamaica and around the USA for the show. “We’re so grateful to be learning so much. We’re so humbled by these extraordinary activists we meet around the world. I hope that reaches other people, too. To have the community be represented — that’s the goal.”
Daniel says he’s encouraged by public reaction.
“It’s not just like, ‘ Cool show. Fun.’ Or ‘educational.’ It’s all those things, and people are having an intense emotional connection to it.” He says the audience includes the LGBT community and beyond.
Producers found themselves in some surprising situations, including when a young Japanese man asked them to be present when he came out to his mother.
“That’s definitely been one of the more unbelievable moments, to witness his bravery and watch the mom go through her journey and be willing to do it with strangers in the room,” says Page, who added that the show wouldn’t have broadcast the video if the mother hadn’t agreed.
Page says her travel experiences have changed since she came out.
“There’s something that’s been so freeing,” she says. “Traveling to a new place and having that feeling of being inspired and curious because that’s how you’re now feeling in life, that’s the biggest difference.”
Viceland’s prime-time lineup also includes Weediquette (Tuesday, 11 p.m. ET/PT), which explores “the science, culture and economics” of the marijuana economy; Balls Deep (Wednesday, 11 p.m. ET/PT), which follows a young man who walks in the shoes of people of varying backgrounds; and Flophouse (Thursday, 10:30 p.m. ET/PT), a look at young comedians who live together. Chef Eddie Huang and Board
walk Empire’s Michael K. Williams also have shows, and the network will feature innovative interstitial programming.
Moretti says Viceland can call on parents A&E and Vice for expertise, but it also is learning from MTV’s formative period. “The energy of the early years of MTV is an inspiration.”