HBO to Debut New International News Series VICE on 4/5
As U.S. troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, the Taliban stoops to an all-time low by recruiting confused, innocent kids as young as six to be suicide bombers.
A kindly South Korean preacher runs an Underground Railroad to rescue North Korean refugees who have made it out but are still in grave danger.
In Mauritania, a country rife with poverty and food shortages, being fat is desirable, so wealthy daughters are sent to eating camps.
These are the kinds of stories - usually overlooked by mainstream media outlets - that will be presented on VICE, the news magazine series debuting FRIDAY, APRIL 5 (11:00-11:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO. Hosted by Shane Smith, founder of the revolutionary new media company of the same name, the weekly show is executive produced by Bill Maher, Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti, VICE's chief creative officer, with CNN's Fareed Zakaria serving as consulting producer.
"VICE's savvy, fearless irreverence has made it a premier new media brand," notes Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. "Their groundbreaking Style of news coverage guarantees a show that's like nothing else on TV."
Hosted by Smith and two VICE correspondents, former intern Ryan Duffy and "Dos & Don'ts" book editor Thomas "Baby Balls" Morton, VICE smashes barriers of decorum to cover such stories as out-of-control political assassinations in the Philippines, the sumo/Mixed Martial Arts craze that has swept Senegal and the precarious nuclear stare-down in Kashmir.
Debut: FRIDAY, APRIL 5 (11:00-11:30 p.m. ET/PT)
Other HBO playdates: April 5 (12:30 a.m.), 9 (midnight) and 11 (midnight)
HBO2 playdates: April 6 (8:00 p.m.) and 10 (1:05 a.m.)
"Assassination Nation": In the Philippines, election season is more like hunting season. Rivals simply rub out their opponents instead of defeating them at the polls. In the 2010 election year alone, more than 100 people were killed due to political violence. VICE follows the cycle of violence in this gun-crazy island nation all the way from an underground factory where illicit weapons are made to the villages full of young men who can't wait to get their hands on them.
"Killer Kids of the Taliban": In Afghanistan, senior members of the Taliban are now manipulating children and teenagers into carrying out their suicide bombings. They brainwash illiterate kids not well-versed in their own religion, and even fool them into believing they will survive the blast. VICE meets with young kids who were captured before they blew themselves and others up, as well as some of the victims of these tragic bombings.
Debut: FRIDAY, APRIL 12 (11:00-11:30 p.m.)
Other HBO playdates: April 12 (12:30 a.m.), 14 (10:30 p.m.), 16 (midnight) and 18 (midnight)HBO2 playdates: April 13 (8:00 p.m.) and 17 (3:55 a.m.)
"Escape from North Korea": Thousands of North Koreans cross the border into China illegally every year. Living in perpetual fear of being discovered, with all odds against them, defectors still do everything they can to leave. If arrested in communist Laos, they may be sent back to North Korea to face prison camp or worse. The risks of escaping the North and heading to the South are so great that fewer than 25,000 North Koreans have ever made the journey successfully. VICE joins a South Korean pastor who has developed a modern-day Underground Railroad to move defectors from China to freedom and eventual citizenship in South Korea.
"World's Most Dangerous Border": The most dangerous place in the world is Kashmir's line of control, which partially occupies the Indian state and separates India from Pakistan. Observers in both India and Pakistan believe the decades-old conflict between the two nations could potentially lead to the end of the world as we know it. VICE travels across Pakistan to the contested line of control in Kashmir, pointing out how close a nuclear apocalypse is yet again.
Debut: FRIDAY, APRIL 19 (11:00-11:30 p.m.)
Other HBO playdates: April 19 (12:30 a.m.), 21 (10:30 p.m.), 23 (midnight) and 25 (midnight)
HBO2 playdates: April 20 (8:00 p.m.) and 24 (3:35 a.m.)
Debut: FRIDAY, APRIL 26 (11:00-11:30 p.m.)
Other HBO playdates: April 26 (12:30 a.m.), 28 (10:30 p.m.) and 30 (midnight), and May 2 (midnight)
HBO2 playdate: April 27 (8:00 p.m.)
Founded by Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi in 1994, VICE now operates in 34 countries worldwide and attracts tens of millions of viewers and readers to its network of online channels dedicated to music, fashion, travel, news and sports. VICE's international digital platforms and magazine are Gen Y's most popular and entertaining source for news, part of a global media powerhouse that also includes a television production studio, a record label, an in-house creative services agency and a book-publishing division.
Shane Smith says, "We've always been a little more raw in the content we make. When you're presenting a variety of totally insane stories from around the world, when you're showing some of the scariest, weirdest and most absurd customs and practices known to humanity, then that's the only Style that really works. You can't present these stories in a teacup. You have to tell the story in a way that grabs the viewer and delivers a punch in the face.
"We are thrilled that VICE has found a home on HBO,' he adds. "HBO is perfect for us because it's intelligent, independent and bold. We won't have to dumb things down or put them in sound bites, and we won't have to shy away from topics or modify our approach. On HBO, we will have all the freedom and creativity we need. HBO is the gold standard of TV, and we want to be the gold standard on HBO. Oh... and we get to swear."
Bill Maher notes, "If a show is willing to do a segment on a guy who calls himself General Butt Naked, you have to watch. You can't go to your grave without having that experience."
Consulting producer Fareed Zakaria observes, "VICE brings a new energy to television. Its stories mix a sense of adventure with compelling, high-quality journalism. The combination will engage a new generation of viewers."
VICE is executive produced by Bill Maher, Shane Smith and Eddy Moretti; co-executive producer, BJ Levin; consulting producer, Fareed Zakaria.