Vice TV on HBO: Bill Maher and Fareed Zakaria Join Mad Media Venture

Shane Smith, Vice founder (Getty Images)

We shouldn’t be surprised that Vice Media’s stunning transformation over the years– from a dirty Canadian hipster zine founded by anarchists and ex-junkies, to a slick site (thanks, Viacom!) focused on original video  content–has lead to a pot of gold.

Since its inception, Vice has been pitching shows to networks, none of which panned out into anything, as the Vice brand wasn’t exactly TV friendly (no, not even to the audiences of Jackass). But 2.0 Vice (and Vice.TV), with its lack of Gavin McInnes and new-found social consciousness, has landed founder Shane Smith his first network show. Forget Vice.TV…this is Vice TV!

From today’s press release:

HBO is partnering with VICE on an innovative news magazine show to be hosted by VICE founder Shane Smith, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. The weekly series will be executive produced by Bill Maher, Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti, VICE’s chief creative officer, with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria serving as consultant.

“VICE has emerged as a premier new media brand through a savvy combination of irreverence, smarts and fearlessness,” said Lombardo. “We are excited to offer a forum for their groundbreaking style of news coverage and look forward to a show that’s like nothing else on TV.”

Titled VICE, the HBO series will showcase a mix of stories from around the globe. Among the segments in production for possible inclusion in the show are: Taliban child suicide bombers; North Korean slave labor camps; New York’s underground voodoo heroin clinics; Somalian pirates; and Satanic dentists in the Pacific Northwest.

(Emphasis ours) Since this story has been percolating since September, the biggest news here is the involvement of Bill Maher and Mr. Zakaria, and what these two unexpected players will bring to the table. Cynicism and gravitas, respectively? (We’d love to see an interstitial segment with the CNN anchor reading from the DOs and DON’Ts.)

The New York Observer has reached out to Shane Smith, and will update with a response as soon as we hear back.

Vice TV on HBO: Bill Maher and Fareed Zakaria Join Mad Media Venture