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Gore TV Venture: 'Politics' Free

Former Vice President Al Gore, co-founder of a new television channel launching next month, said he's shunning politics — and so is his media venture.

"I consider myself a recovering politician. I'm on step nine," Gore told a meeting Monday of the Television Critics Association.

The 2000 Democratic candidate for president was asked if he was concerned the 24-hour news and information channel, called Current, would be perceived as having a political slant. It's scheduled to launch Aug. 1.

"I think the reality of the network will speak for itself. It's not intended to be partisan in any way," said Gore, Current's co-founder (with Joel Hyatt. the founder of Hyatt Legal Services) and chairman of the board.

Aimed at an 18-34-year-old audience, Current has loftier goals in mind than party politics: Gore said it will engage young people in the "dialogue of democracy" by providing stories that interest them, and will involve them in the channel's content.

Using Web parlance, Gore said he wants Current to be the channel of choice for young adults.

"We want to be the television home page for the Internet generation," he said.

Viewers will have the opportunity to contribute their own-filmed reports and features, such as a look at underground youth culture in Iran, said Gore and David Neuman, Current's programming president.

The young staff of reporters, producers and hosts includes Gotham Chopra, son of self-help guru Deepak Chopra, and Laura Ling (Channel One News, MTV).

Preparing to launch Current in 20 million homes on DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Comcast in limited markets "has been a blast," Gore said. The five-year plan calls for it to reach 50 million homes.

He declined to talk about a current hot topic in Washington, the speculation about Bush administration figures Karl Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby and the federal investigation into the leak of a CIA officer's name.

"I'd rather not," he said. "I'd rather keep the focus on Current."