Al Jazeera America To Launch In August, With Fewer Commercials Than Competitors

By Alex Weprin 

As The Cable Show kicks off in Washington DC, more details continue to trickle out in advance of Al Jazeera America’s launch. While Ehab Al Shihabi, Al Jazeera’s executive in charge of the new venture, is still looking for a chief executive to run it, there are some things he knows they will be doing.

According to B&C‘s Andrea Morabito, AJAM will launch the week of August 24.

At launch, Al Jazeera America’s primetime lineup will include the previously announced Ali Velshi show, which will be titled Real Money and air at 7 p.m., a nightly 60 Minutes-style newsmagazine at 9 p.m., and America Tonight, which will present a deep-dive analysis on key issues of the day.

The network will also have a morning show, though don’t expect a Today-style format with a group of anchors chatting on a couch. “We haven’t finalized the details of format, but it’s not going to look like [hosts] sitting and talking about kitchens,” says Al Shihabi, who adds like the rest of its schedule, the mornings will focus on in-depth, fact-based news.

The Los Angeles TimesJoe Flint also spoke to Al Shihabi, who told him that the channel would carry fewer commercials than its competitors.

“A lot of the audience wants in-depth journalism.” Al Shihabi said, adding that news will take priority over maximizing profits. Al Jazeera is funded by the government of Qatar and its deep pockets means it can play by a different set of rules.

For example, when Al Jazeera America debuts, it will carry fewer commercials than other news channels, in the hopes of keeping viewers from channel surfing.