Fusion (TV channel)

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Fusion
Fusion TV 2013 logo.png
Launched October 28, 2013 (2013-10-28)[1]
Owned by Disney-ABC Television Group
(The Walt Disney Company)
Univision Communications
(both owning 50%)
(Fusion Media Network, LLC)
Picture format 720p (HDTV)
(HD feed downgraded to letterboxed 480i for SDTVs)
Slogan Pop Culture. Satire. News. This is Fusion.
Country United States
Language English
Spanish
Broadcast area United States
Headquarters Doral, Florida
Replaced ABC News Now
Sister channel(s) ABC
ABC Family
ESPN
ESPN2
Univision
Univision Noticias
Galavisión
UniMás
Univision Deportes Network
Univision tlnovelas
Discovery Family
Website fusion.net
Availability
Satellite
Dish Network Channel 244 (SD only)
DirecTV Channel 342 (Available in January 2015)
Cable
Cablevision/Optimum Channel 697 (HD)
Channel 156 (SD)
Verizon FiOS Channel 108 (SD only)
Available on other select cable systems (check local listings for channels)
IPTV
AT&T U-verse Channel 1206 (HD)
Channel 206 (SD)
Google Fiber Channel 105 (HD)
Streaming media
Available from select broadband Internet providers Check with a provider for details

Fusion is an American digital cable and satellite television network that is a joint venture between the Disney-ABC Television Group subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company and Univision Communications, and relies in part on the resources of their respective news divisions, ABC News and Noticias Univision.[2][3] In addition to conventional television distribution, Fusion is also streamed on online and mobile platforms to subscribers of participating cable and satellite providers.[4]

Launched on October 28, 2013, the network's content features news, lifestyle, pop culture, satire and entertainment aimed at English-speaking millennials, including those of a Hispanic background; the channel is Univision's first major push into English-language programming.[5] Fusion is based out of "NewsPort", a converted studio facility in the Miami suburb of Doral, Florida that it shares with Noticias Univision; it maintains additional studios in Los Angeles and bureaus in Mexico City, New York City, and Washington, D.C.[3][6]

Background[edit]

Fusion is ABC's third attempt in the world of cable news. ABC News and Group W then a division of Westinghouse first launched a 24-hour news channel in 1982 with Satellite News Channel. Due to low clearance from cable systems ABC sold the channel after just over a year on the air to CNN who shut it down. After that ABC News launched ABC News Now which encountered the same problem.

In December 2010, the newly appointed president of Noticias Univision, Isaac Lee, announced plans to start a 24-hour English language cable news channel aimed at American Hispanics.[7] Univision Communications would later on, in late 2011, enter into discussions with Walt Disney Company-owned ABC News about entering into a joint venture to develop the channel.[8] The discussions bore fruit with the companies' formal announcement of the channel on May 8, 2012, initially projecting a debut during the first half of 2013[9] (the channel would be given its name, Fusion, in February 2013).[2] On October 4, 2013, the company announced it had named Isaac Lee as Chief Executive Officer to replace interim CEO Beau Ferrari.[10]

Fusion's formal launch date and its initial programming schedule was announced on August 1, 2013.[3] The channel formally launched on October 28, 2013, buoyed earlier in the day by a simulcast of ABC's Good Morning America and Univision's ¡Despierta América! designed to promote Fusion's launch and programming.[11] After leading off with a three-minute musical number at 6:57 p.m. Eastern Time on October 28, 2013,[12] Fusion began regular programming with the debut of America with Jorge Ramos.[13]

Fusion's target audience consists mainly of millenials (roughly the age bracket of adults 18-34), a group generally regarded as digitally fluent and normally favors social media and internet sources to gain news and base opinions, usually eschewing traditional broadcast and print sources. To that end, Fusion gears its programming less towards the constant coverage of breaking news, instead emphasizing context and analysis on news and issues, along with interviews, documentaries, and long-form reports on current events, lifestyle, and pop culture.[5] Fusion also employs an on-air blending of serious topics and discussions that is, more often than not, laced with irreverence and humor (a "common language" among millenials according to host Alicia Menendez) that aims to reduce the air of pretense and seriousness with which other news outlets treat current topics and issues.[11] The "fusion" of seriousness and lighteartedness has been evident in Fusion's primetime lineup: America with Jorge Ramos, in its first week alone, has taken a more conventional approach, featuring interviews with President Barack Obama and United States Senator Ted Cruz,[14] while Alicia Menendez Tonight has featured more personal and less serious topics, and programs including No, You Shut Up have ventured towards irreverence and even satire.[13]

Fusion was originally conceived to primarily attract a younger audience of an English-speaking Hispanic and Latino American background; about one-fifth of millenials are classified as being of Latino descent[11] and have generally been well-acclimated with English language society in the United States, either as emigrants or as U.S. nationals by birth. After receiving some backlash during development over concerns that too much of a focus was placed on ethnicity, Fusion would broaden its scope during its development, aiming to "engage and champion a young, diverse and inclusive America," regardless of cultural or language background.[6] Isaac Lee, who serves as Fusion's CEO in addition to President of News for Univision, has stated that Hispanic millenials see themselves as part of the broad American culture and that "they want to be part of the same room and part of the same conversation" as non-Hispanics.[5][15]

Fusion operates out of a former warehouse in Doral, Florida (billed by staffers as the "Newsport")[16] that is shared with Noticias Univision. Additionally some resources are also shared with ABC News and Noticias Univision[17] (the above-mentioned interview of President Obama, conducted by ABC News correspondent Jim Avila, was one such example of that reliance).[5] However, the network operates separately from ABC's and Univision's news divisions, employing its own on-air talent, correspondents, management, production staff and board of directors.[18] Univision handles programming responsibilities for Fusion, while Disney-ABC Television Group provides advertising sales and handles cable and satellite distribution for the channel.[3] ABC News president Ben Sherwood noted that while the channel will eventually feature all original programming, repurposed content from ABC News and Univision content airs on the channel during late night timeslots, along with paid programming.[19]

Programming[edit]

The initial schedule on Fusion includes programs intended for a younger audience than most cable news shows attract, many of which feature the lively, irreverent approach the network intends to make its hallmark.[1][20] The network has added new shows and made adjustments since its launch, and carries the following shows as of March 2014:

  • Fusion Live - a 1-hour daily program hosted by Mariana Atencio, Pedro Andrade, and Yannis Pappas that is what Atencio describes as "NPR meets The Daily Show,"[11] presenting news, discussions, interviews, and live performances in an informative yet edgy manner. Originally a 2-hour breakfast television show at Fusion's launch (when it went by the title The Morning Show), the program moved to a late afternoon/early evening berth in March 2014 as part of a major schedule adjustment by Fusion.[21]
  • Alicia Menendez Tonight – Discussions and commentaries on daily issues featuring former HuffPost Live host Alicia Menendez
  • No, You Shut Up! – A 15-minute combination of topical discussion and comedy. Executive produced by former Daily Show writer/producer David Javerbaum and created by The Jim Henson Company (under its Henson Alternative banner), the show stars Paul F. Tompkins and a panel of puppet commentators (played by the Miskreant Puppets from Puppet Up!)[14][22]
  • Good Morning Today – Also produced by David Javerbaum and Henson Alternative, this 15-minute show spoofs conventional breakfast television programming, with the setting a morning news show in an alternate universe populated by live-action personalities and computer-animated anchors. The show is filmed with the use of The Jim Henson Company's Digital Puppet Studio, a proprietary technology that enables performers to physically puppeteer and voice computer-generated characters in real time.
  • America with Jorge Ramos – Reports, analysis, interviews, and discussions on significant news topics hosted by the Noticiero Univision anchor. Originally a daily newscast at Fusion's launch, America moved to once-weekly installments in March 2014, allowing the program and Ramos to do field reports and other long-form features.[21]
  • Back Home – A weekly documentary-style show that follows celebrity guests making voyages to their family's country of origin
  • Strange Medicine – A medical news program hosted by Dr. Juan Rivera, Univision's Chief Medical Correspondent who trained at the prestigious Johns Hopkins Hospital.
  • The Soccer Gods - A weekly program that offers "an irreverent, nuanced, North American perspective" on the sport of soccer and the pomp and passion that surrounds it.
  • Fusion Investigates - The banner name for Fusion's long-form investigative and narrative programming and the team devoted to it, emphasizing "stories that will have an impact," and topics such as the economy, immigration, injustice, and corruption.

Former shows[edit]

  • D.N.A. – An hour-long interactive show focused on social issues hosted by Derrick Ashong
  • Sports Talkers – A half-hour show hosted Rebecca Delgado Smith, Billy Scafuri and Adam Lustick that combined elements of sports talk radio and improvisational comedy
  • Open Source – A show hosted by KMEX-DT news anchor León Krauze that covers "a mix of politics, pop-culture and really weird stuff."[23] Just as with America with Jorge Ramos, Open Source began as a nightly program before shifting to weekly installments in March 2014.[21]

Key personnel[edit]

Executive leadership[edit]

Key Hires[edit]

Towards it's one year anniversary, a series of high-profile hires of digital-native journalists[24] created high expectations for the young media company. NPR's David Folkenflik called Fusion "One of the most interesting experiments we've seen in television (...) since the Emergence of Fox News Channel".[25]

  • Jane Spencer - Editor-in-Chief, Digital Platforms[26]
  • Anna Holmes - Editor, Digital Voices[27]
  • Felix Salmon - Senior Editor, Digital[28]
  • Mariana Santos - Director, Innovative Storytelling[29]
  • Tim Pool - Director of Media Innovation[30]

Board of Directors[edit]

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Carriage and content distribution[edit]

By the time that Disney-ABC and Univision announced the channel's name – Fusion – on February 11, 2013, the channel already signed carriage agreements with major pay television providers including Verizon, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, AT&T U-verse and Google Fiber. The channel is primarily carried on the digital basic tiers of participating providers,[2][3] and premiered to a reach of approximately 20 million homes, one-fifth of the total U.S. households with subscription television services.[5] Fusion is currently seeking carriage on additional providers, with deals pending or not yet reached with notable providers including Comcast and Time Warner Cable. The channel was added to the Dish Network lineup after a new carriage deal was reached between Dish and Disney. Currently the channel on Dish Network airs only in 480i SD.[22][31] On the week of September 22, 2014, Fusion was placed in test mode on DirecTV channel 342 in preparation for launch on the carrier along with sister channel the Longhorn Network as part of a carriage deal that got DirecTV the SEC Network.[32] As of November 13, 2014, Longhorn Network and Fusion may soon be removed from test mode as DirecTV and ESPN were unable to reach a carriage agreement.[33] On December 23, 2014, DirecTV announced a wide-ranging distribution agreement with Disney to carry Fusion in early 2015.[34] Fusion's goal, according to Board of Directors member and ABC News president Ben Sherwood, is to reach 60 million homes within five years of its debut.[14] Fusion replaced ABC News Now on most cable systems; that network ceased operations on October 28, 2013, the day of Fusion's debut.

In addition to its on-air presence, Fusion posts nearly all of its content online through its Fusion.net website. The network also plans to have a mobile app for use in smartphones and tablet computers up and running in 2014.[22]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b James, Meg (August 1, 2013). "ABC-Univision cable network, Fusion, to launch Oct. 28". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 2, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Kim, Susanna (February 11, 2013). "ABC and Univision Announce New Cable Network 'Fusion' Will Launch Later in 2013". ABC News. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Villafane, Veronica (March 5, 2013). "Fusion Gears Up For Late Summer Launch". TV News Check. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 
  4. ^ "About Fusion - FusionLive". Fusionlive.tumblr.com. 2013-10-28. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Univision-ABC channel Fusion launching in a bid for young Latinos," from Los Angeles Times, 10/28/2013
  6. ^ a b "Fusion's Debut Shows Serious, Fun Sides," from TVNewsCheck, 10/29/2013
  7. ^ "Univision president says he’ll start 24-hr news channel". Media Moves. December 17, 2010. Retrieved August 3, 2013. 
  8. ^ Szalai, Georg (February 7, 2012). "ABC News, Univision Discussing English-Language News Network". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 
  9. ^ James, Meg; Chmielewski, Dawn (May 7, 2012). "ABC News, Univision to launch English-language news network". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Isaac Lee Named CEO of Fusion". Businesswire.com. 2013-10-04. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  11. ^ a b c d "Fusion Wants Young Latinos To Turn On Their TVs," from NPR's Weekend Edition, 10/26/2013
  12. ^ "Sign-on video premiering Fusion, from Fusion.net, accessed 10/29/2013
  13. ^ a b "With Fusion’s debut, a bid for laughs and then a serious turn," from Miami Herald, 10/28/2013
  14. ^ a b c "New U.S. TV network fuses news, satire for young Hispanics," from Retuers, 10/27/2013
  15. ^ "Univision And ABC News Launch New TV Channel ‘Fusion,’" interview with Isaac Lee from Here & Now (WBUR/NPR), aired 10/28/2013
  16. ^ "ABC and Univision's love child bursts to life," from Associated Press, 10/19/2013
  17. ^ James, Meg (May 19, 2011). "Univision plans three new cable TV channels". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 
  18. ^ Vivian says:. "Fusion names board of directors, reveals more details". Mediamoves.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  19. ^ Guthrie, Marisa (May 7, 2012). "ABC News, Univision Joint Venture Not Looking to Compete With CNN, MSNBC, Fox News". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 14, 2013. 
  20. ^ Stelter, Brian (August 1, 2013). "Fusion Announces Premiere Date and Prime-Time Schedule". New York Times. Retrieved August 16, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b c "Fusion Added to Dish Network, Shifts Programming," from TVNewser.com, 3/4/2014
  22. ^ a b c "Meet Fusion, The ABC-Univision Frankenbaby That Wants Millennials To Laugh And Get Their News On," from BuzzFeed, 10/27/2013
  23. ^ "''Open Source with Leon Krauze'' page on". Fusion.net. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  24. ^ Fusion Hires Alexis Madrigal of TheAtlantic.com to Bolster Tech Coverage from The New York Times
  25. ^ AUDIO: Fusion Marks One Year In News from NPR's Here and Now radio program
  26. ^ The New York Times
  27. ^ Recode.net
  28. ^ The New York Times
  29. ^ Capitalnewyork.com
  30. ^ [1]
  31. ^ Variety
  32. ^ Dbstalk.com
  33. ^ [2]
  34. ^ [3]

External links[edit]