LOS ANGELES Meghan McCain, who gained attention in 2007 for her lively blogs tracking her father John McCain's presidential campaign, is bringing her "brand of Republicanism" to a new television show she hopes will change perceptions of the millennial generation.
McCain, 28, is the face of "Raising McCain" that premieres on Saturday on new cable channel Pivot TV, with the aim of presenting a different take on the challenges and issues facing young people.
"Unfortunately, the only thing we're seeing when it comes to young people is (MTV show) "16 and Pregnant" and reality shows," McCain told Reuters.
"Raising McCain," airing weekly at 10 p.m. EDT, will see the host exploring issues such as feminism, technology, dating, and online privacy, which is the topic of the first episode.
Since being thrust into the spotlight with her father's campaign in the 2008 election against Democrat Barack Obama, McCain, who has appeared on MSNBC and writes for The Daily Beast, said she faced strong criticism for her fiscally conservative, socially liberal "brand of Republicanism."
"I was so naive in the beginning when I worked on my dad's campaign and I thought everyone would love me," she said.
"Little did I know that if you're a woman in America and you state your opinion, that you will be probably eviscerated in one way or another, and I think just to be a woman in the media is to be controversial," she added.
But the young Republican said she wanted to be careful not to make the show political or one that "lectures or preaches" to young people - rather, she wants it to open discussions she said she grew up hearing on television.
"I was such a child of MTV News and MTV. ... I saw (MTV News reporter) Tabitha Soren interviewing my dad and so many other interesting politicians, and MTV did debates," McCain said.
"MTV, they didn't even have a presence in the last election cycle and that breaks my heart," she added.
"Raising McCain" is part of the original lineup on Participant Media's cable channel Pivot, which is targeted at the "millennial generation," aged 18 to 34. Pivot launched on August 1 on some cable providers and online platforms.
Pivot President Evan Shapiro said the diversity of the channel's programming was meant to showcase different viewpoints, and that McCain's political ideology "had very little" to do with the choice to have her host her own show.
"We chose her because her voice is authentic and original, and we think she does embody the complexities of this generation," he said.
While Shapiro had no immediate ratings available to show the network's progress in its first month, he said it was in 40 million homes and viewership was growing as more content became available.
Among the original content is nightly news show "TakePart Live," documentary series "Jersey Strong," which follows two unconventional families navigating crime in the streets of Newark, and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt's variety series "HitRecord on TV!" airing in January, which Shapiro described as "a weird version of 'The Muppet Show.'"
"It starts with entertainment. If we can't entertain people, then the messages that our content and artists wish to convey will never find purpose," Shapiro said.
"There's tons of soap operas, there's tons of empty-caloried reality shows, but there ... is no destination that is dedicated to the innate belief of the power, passion and talent of this generation," he added.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy; Editing by Peter Cooney)