The New York Times will soon put on its best face for cable.
With the DiscoveryTimes channel skedded to bow March 25, the joint venture has named Times reporter Sheryl WuDunn as the host of daily signature program “Page One.”
The 10 p.m. show, which will exploit resources of the Gray Lady’s newsroom, will feature the newspaper’s next-day front-page stories.
“It won’t be a newscast or a news update,” explained general manager and senior veepee Vivian Schiller. “Instead it will explore what makes the story worthy of page one — the why should we care?”
WuDunn, who along with husband Nicholas D. Kristof won a Pulitzer Prize for their reporting in China in 1990, is an Asia specialist. This is her first television job.
The channel, formerly known as Discovery Civilization, has 25 million subscribers and is arguably the boldest joint venture between a periodical and a television channel since the CNN Newsstand projects of the late ’90s.
“This is a New York Times channel with New York Times sensibilities,” says Schiller.
While Times rival the Wall Street Journal and CNBC have a licensing agreement and occasionally share resources, CNBC doesn’t always telegraph the WSJ brand.
Beginning at 7 p.m., the digital channel will air an eight-hour block of programming and will repeat the block twice until 7 p.m. next day.
Aside from docs like “Al Qaeda 2.0,” which will feature the recent capture of the terror group’s leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and will be hosted by terror expert Peter Bergen, it will feature short-form commentary from Times columnist Thomas Friedman.