Updated (at 12:10 p.m. PST) to include statements from HLN and Ohanian.
Reddit cofounder and Y-Combinator partner Alexis Ohanian is in discussions with cable news channel HLN to do an original television series, VentureBeat has learned.
While details about the TV series are scarce, sources tell VentureBeat it will debut on a social media-focused revamped version HLN, the sister news station of cable network CNN. CNN itself has undergone a bit of a rebrand since former NBC head Jeff Zucker took over, with one of the most noticeable differences being the addition of episodic, documentary-like prime time TV shows from Anthony Bourdain and Morgan Spurlock.
HLN parent company Turner responded to with the following statement about its long-term programming plans:
HLN has a large volume of pilots and programs in development for pick-up consideration but we have not, at this point, greenlit any.
If an Ohanian-hosted series did get a green light, presumably we could get a version of Bourdain’s Parts Unknown that focuses on traveling to new cities for the purpose of documenting the local startup/entrepreneurial culture instead of food.
Ohanian has certainly accrued plenty of experience to make a TV show premise like this happen over the last year, too. Not only has he hosted an entrepreneur-focused show Small Empires for tech news site The Verge, he’s also spent the last year traveling around the country talking with founders and entrepreneurs as part of a promotional tour for his book Without Their Permission.
But since we’ve not yet heard any concrete details about Ohanian’s series, perhaps that’s just wishful thinking. At the very least, putting Ohanian into the regular rotation of programming for HLN would go a long way in changing the news channel’s perception of being the home of Nancy Grace.
Update 12:10 p.m. PST: Ohanian responded to VentureBeat about the news, saying: “Aye, I was having discussions with HLN, but we’ve since moved on.”
When asked if the TV project might be revisited in the future, he added: “Mayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyybe. Small Empires was a lot of fun.”
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