An optimistic-sounding press release "authorized by Julian Assange" announced that the WikiLeaks founder "will be hosting a series of in-depth conversations with key political players, thinkers and revolutionaries from around the world." Focusing on the theme of "the world tomorrow," ten weekly half-hour episodes are slated to start mid-March, and "initial licensing commitments cover over 600 million viewers across cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcast networks." There's no mention of which television networks -- or Internet video sites -- actually made these commitments. We have a sneaking suspicion that this thing could just end up on YouTube.
YouTube would be a great fit for Julian Assange, who seems to love seeing his face on screen—any screen. In keeping with Assange's ethos, YouTube is entirely democratic: anybody can upload a video from anywhere in the world. Major television networks can't say that, and while Assange could probably bring in viewers, he also has a unique ability to polarize the population and alienate his partners. The show also seems like typical Assange stuff, the sort of thing we could never imagine a big network picking up. "Are we're heading towards utopia, or dystopia and how we can set our paths?" the release wonders. "This is an exciting opportunity to discuss the vision of my guests in a new style of show that examines their philosophies and struggles in a deeper and clearer way than has been done before." Fox News might bite.
Finally, Assange is hardly a stranger to being a YouTube star. We're not just talking about iJustine-style confessionals or Young Turks-style news reports either. Julian Assange's range is broader than that. He does spoofs, like this one protesting Mastercard's cutting off WikiLeaks donations:
Assange is also good at candid moments, talking to the people at protests. Here he is addressing Occupy London last October:
Assange has also flirted with the MSM, appearing occasionally for interviews to answer others' questions. It's unclear how well he would do asking the questions himself:
And of course, there are the really candid moments, like this priceless shot of a very energetic man that appears to be Assange, dancing in a Reykjavik nightclub:
We've reached out to Assange's press contacts to find out more about the series, who has licensed it and who will appear as guests. We'll update you when we hear back.