The New York Times is officially coming to the small screen.
FX has picked up the new television show “The Weekly,” an offshoot of The Times’ successful podcast “The Daily,” for a minimum 30-week run set to premiere later this year. This is The Times’ first TV push and Hulu, whose major shareholder is Fox, the parent company of FX, has the streaming rights. It also marks FX’s first foray into news, although Fox is well-established in the industry and its news network is arguably the arbiter of the right-wing political agenda.
While “The Daily,” which surpassed 100 million total downloads last fall, operates more as a breakdown of major news developments hosted by The Times’ Michael Barbaro and rotating staffers, “The Weekly” will be in the style of a docu-series focused on what goes into the paper’s reporting on “one or two” stories during a given week.
“Our ambition with ‘The Weekly’ is to bring the authority and excellence of New York Times journalism to the largest possible television audience,” Meredith Kopit Levien, The Times’ chief operating officer, said in a statement.
Levien also made note of another, more specific, goal, saying the deal is intended “to make millions of people spend much more time with quality, original journalism.”
Assistant managing editor Sam Dolnick will oversee the show and added that “The Times newsroom has the raw ingredients for must-watch TV.” Although many reporters and journalists spend a large portion of their time writing behind a computer, when not fielding phone calls and e-mails, Dolnick hinted at “on-the-ground reporting” for the show’s focus.
The Times added in a statement that reporters will be on camera “chasing their stories,” and conducting interviews. “The Weekly” will not have a host, as the podcast does, and reporters are set to “act as guides” for the stories featured on the show.
“The whole idea for this show, what makes it unprecedented, is that
the layers that separate viewers from New York Times journalism will be eliminated,” The Times wrote, stressing that this show will be “different” from other TV news shows.
The paper declined to comment on the show or its distribution beyond the statement. But the new show is part of The Times’ push to be more multimedia than ever and it touted plans for TV, movies, smartpeakers and data science initiatives at its recent NewFront presentation to advertisers.
Mark Thompson, The Times’ president and chief executive officer, said last week that the paper is aiming to increase its subscriber base, the main source of revenue, three-fold to 10 million in the coming years, and getting the brand name out in the U.S. and abroad is at the center of this somewhat lofty goal.
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