TCA: Spike Jonze: Viceland ‘A Group of People Trying to Understand the World We Live In’

Complete Coverage: TCA Winter Press Tour

Vice Media and A+E’s rebrand of H2 Feb. 29 will feature a lineup of debut series that are true to the edgy Vice Media brand’s reputation for what it calls immersive documentary, according to a TCA winter press tour session Wednesday previewing the network.

The channel “is a collection of personal points of view, all unscripted shows made by filmmakers,” Oscar-winning writer/director and the network’s creative director Spike Jonze said in introducing the session. “We’re trying to make a channel that feels personal,” he added, delivered by “a group of people trying to understand the world we live in.”

Spike Jonze was joined by a lineup of the network’s stars during a session previewing the network, including Academy Award-nominated actress Ellen Page and Ian Daniel, hosts of Gaycation; Action Bronson, host F*ck That’s Delicious; Hailey Gates, host of Fashion Week International (Working Title); Krishna Andavolu, hostof Weediquette; Zach Goldbaum, host and Andy Capper, director, Noisey; Clare O’Kane, host of Flophouse; Eddie Huang, host, Huang’s World; and Thomas Morton, host, Balls Deep.

A+E and Vice Media announced plans last year to rebrand A+E’s H2 cable channel, using Viceland as the working title for the network, in about 70 million homes. HBO's newsmag Vicereturns for a fourth season on HBO Feb. 5.

Jonze called the launch of the network “an amazing opportunity for us as a company,” when asked about the importance of a linear network in an increasingly non-linear media world. “To get this kind of production budget can still only be done in television.”

Show descriptions provided by Viceland follow, along with panel highlights:

Gaycation: Ellen Page and her best friend, Ian Daniel, set off on a personal journey to explore LGBTQ cultures around the world. From Japan to Brazil, Jamaica and here in America, Ellen and Ian discover the multiplicity of LGBTQ experiences, meeting amazing people and hearing their deeply moving stories of struggle and triumph. Through Ellen and Ian's voyage, Gaycation is able to support and celebrate the state of LGBTQ identities across the globe.

From the panel: Page says her encounter with Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz last summer at the Iowa State Fair, where she confronted him about LGBT rights, will be featured in an episode. There will also be an episode featuring an encounter with an anti-LGBT preacher that she says was one of “the more scary moments” she’s had.

Huang’s World: Eddie Huang – chef and author of the best-selling book “Fresh Off The Boat,” – takes a personal and political look at food culture. As Eddie says, “politics is in the plate”… every dish is a cultural lesson, every recipe a historical document, every meal a celebration of the things that bring us together regardless of race, religion, or creed.

From the panel: Huang calls the series an exploration of identity with food as the “equalizer."

F*ck That’s Delicious: Featuring Action Bronson and co-stars Big Body Bes and Mayhem Action Bronson is a famous rapper from Queens, New York and a classically trained chef who combines both of these loves in the world’s first ever rap food show. In every episode we follow Action and his crew – the larger-than-life “Big Body Bes” and “Mayhem Lauren” – as they travel from concert to concert enjoying all manner of fine foods, wines, and herbs along the way.

Fashion Week International (working title): Host Hailey Gates travels the world seeking fashion and beauty customs far from the glossy runways of New York, London, and Paris. Fashion Week International (working title) is an unprecedented investigation and celebration of the things people wear and the things that we do to our bodies, all in the pursuit of an idea of “beauty.” From Pakistan to the Congo, Venezuela, Russia, and beyond, Hailey uncovers fascinating fashion trends while confronting the issues they conjure, from gender, to race, to politics, religion, and economics.

Vice World of Sports: Hosted by journalist Sal Masekela, Vice World of Sportsis a deep dive into the sports cultures that transcend the scores and the stats, the punditry and the pettiness. Sal and his team of VICE reporters travel to communities in Ghana, Michigan, Serbia and Argentina, to meet the athletes, explore the rivalries, and understand the games people play.

Weediquette: VICE correspondent Krishna Andavolu chronicles the science, culture and economics of the emerging “green” economy. In every episode Krishna explores the impact of marijuana legalization across the U.S. and internationally, examining how people on all sides of this issue are dealing with the growing popularity and acceptance of this remarkable little plant. From doctors looking for radical new therapies, to veterans experimenting with marijuana as a PTSD cure, from the small farmers of the “Emerald Triangle”, to the encroaching “factory farmers," there are many players in this weed revolution, and everyone has a story to tell.

Noisey: Created by VICE filmmaker Andy Capper, NOISEY is the most original music documentary series on television today. Correspondent Zach Goldbaum gets a first-hand look into the most interesting music scenes in America and around the world. Each episode focuses on a single city – from Compton, to Chicago, Miami, Las Vegas, Toronto, London, Sao Paolo and beyond – closely following the artists that are defining music today, while reflecting and reacting to the sociopolitical issues within that culture.

FlophouseFlophouse is a comedy show with all the comforts of home. Featuring the rising stars in stand-up comedy, each episode takes us inside the communal homes of America’s funniest up-and-coming comedians – culminating in an intimate stand-up performance in living rooms, backyards, and garages across the country.

Balls Deep: VICE correspondent Thomas Morton perfects his version of immersive journalism, embedding himself into the lives of others to experience what life looks like from their point-of-view. Whether it’s a Pentecostal preacher, a Muslim-American family, or gay bears in Provincetown, Thomas absorbs every part of his counterparts’ lives: their customs, philosophies, their habits and habitats.Balls Deep is the most entertaining experiment in radical empathy ever committed to film.