Al Gore collects interactive Emmy for Current TV

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Six months after grabbing Oscar glory for his eco-documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” former Vice President Al Gore collected an Emmy Award on Sunday for his fledgling youth-oriented cable network, Current TV.

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The network, which launched in 2005 with video clips and other short programs made by viewers, received the “interactive television services” Emmy, a noncompetitive award picked by a panel of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

“We are trying to open up the television medium so viewers can help to make television ... and reclaim democracy,” Gore said in accepting the award, given Sunday for the first time during the Primetime Emmys telecast.

Gore, who is chairman of the venture, was joined on stage by Current’s chief executive, his business partner Joel Hyatt.

Billed by Gore as a media innovation that encourages a “two-way conversation” with its audience, the 24-hour network airs a mix of professionally produced segments and viewer-produced videos from a few seconds to 15 minutes.

About 25 percent of Current’s programming “pods” consist of homemade pieces dubbed “viewer-contributed content,” or “VC Squared.

The rapid-paced format is targeted at Internet-savvy viewers 18 to 34 years-old, a generation Gore said “wants to be in control of its media.” Programming subjects range from fashion and lifestyle trends to news and current events.

Current TV was converted from a defunct cable channel, Newsworld International, that a Gore-led investor group purchased in 2004 from Vivendi Universal for a reported $70 million.

With an estimated reach of 50 million homes in the United States and Britain, Current is carried to subscribers through satellite service DirecTV and various cable systems.

Gore, the Democratic nominee for president in 2000, last plied the Hollywood red carpet in February, when the big-screen version of his slide-show lecture and book about the threat of global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” won the Academy Award for best documentary feature.