Traditionally, when a linear TV network deigns to distribute its content on social video channels, it’s in the form of pilot previews and short-form supplements. But the half-hour news magazine show “ASPIREist” will be a true multi-platform offering, debuting on Sunday, April 3, at 8 a.m. ET on USA Network (which launched its hit series “Mr. Robot” with a successful multi-platform preview in May 2015), as well as Facebook, YouTube and magazine format mobile app Flipboard.
Produced by former “60 Minutes” producers Shawn Efran and Solly Granatstein, “ASPIREist” will target millennial audiences with “built-to-share” stories that spotlight issues such as mass incarceration, immigration, teen suicide, transgender awareness and education, and incorporate social media calls to action.
EDITOR’S NOTE: According to a USA Network spokesperson, “ASPIREist” is paid programming, airs outside of USA Network broadcast hours, and, contrary to information provided by “ASPIREist,” is not a USA Network show.
The millennial appeal of “ASPIREist” will be reinforced by its team of young, multicultural hosts — women’s rights activist Shiza Shaid, environmental activist Philippe Cousteau, Jr. (grandson of famed underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau), Thirst Project founder Seth Maxwell, model and transgender activist Geena Rocero, Costa Rican singer/songwriter and activist Debi Nova, and teacher/poet Clint Smith — all of whom are TED Talk alumni.
The series was created by media advertising vet Neal Weinberg and screenwriter Michal Zebede (“The Humbling,” “Devious Maids”), with financial backing from media and corporate trading company Active International.
“We’ve attempted to reinvent the typical ‘news show’ by pulling back the curtain on the ‘new digital newsrooms’ taking shape today,” said Weinberg in a statement. “Our ultimate goal is to allow young people to discover, consume, and immediately take action on the stories they care about across all platforms, combining the power of old and new media.”
Each of the first season’s four episodes will feature a four- to five-minute “ASPIREist Original” news segment, a “Look to the Stars” feature with celebrities including George Clooney (pictured), Nikki Reed, Ian Somerhalder and Moby, and a “Found On…” segment that highlights compelling content found across the web. In between, it will have “Just for a Minute” 60-second featurettes, exploring innovative products invented by social entrepreneurs.
In a release announcing the premiere, “ASPIREist” pitches itself as “a natural venue for brands looking to highlight their efforts to give back and do good,” a la the “Sneakers with Soul” segment about Nike (above) featured in its debut episode.