Spectrum Networks has launched a weekly primetime show that airs author conversations for 1.5 million pay-TV subscribers in Southern California.
Live Talk Los Angeles licenses content from an event series by the same name, adapting one-time literary experiences into hour-long episodes. The cable show debuted November 16, with a recording of a recent Live Talk Los Angeles event with actor and author Tom Hanks. Tickets to the sold-out live event cost $40-$70.
The TV show is one of the inaugural programs for Spectrum News 1, a cable news service focused on local Southern California stories. “These are dynamic live events featuring major newsmakers,” said Cater Lee, the VP of news and content at Spectrum Networks. “That fits perfectly with our commitment to delivering content that will serve the unique needs and interests of our community.”
Upcoming episodes of Spectrum’s Live Talk Los Angeles will feature taped conversations with celebrity authors such as Roger Daltrey, lead singer of The Who, talking about his memoir Thanks a Lot Mr. Kibblewhite, and actress Sally Field discussing her memoir In Pieces memoir.
“It has always been a moveable feast concept,” said Live Talk Los Angeles founder Ted Habte-Gabr, who has programmed more than 250 events in different locations since 2010. “That allows me the flexibility to fluctuate from 100 seat venues all the way up through 6,000 seat venues." The event series now averages around 65 events each year around the Los Angeles metro area, branching out beyond its initial focus on arts and entertainment conversations with the Live Talks Food & Wine series and a Live Talks Business Forum.
The series has employed online video since its inception, counting more than 12 million views from 156 countries across YouTube, Vimeo, and Facebook. As broadband internet access improved and video-streaming devices multiplied, online viewership has also evolved. In 2010, the average viewer watched videos for about three minutes. In 2018, viewers average nearly 21 minutes watching the videos online.
The Live Talks event with the most views on YouTube is a video featuring Monty Python founders John Cleese and Eric Idle in 2014, tackling Cleese' memoir, So, Anyway. Other popular videos include Richard Dawkins discussing his memoir Brief Candle in the Dark: My Life in Science with illusionist Penn Jillette, and Chelsea Handler talking about her Uganda Be Kidding Me travel essay collection with Gwyneth Paltrow.
Even as Live Talks Los Angeles brand jumps to television screens, Habte-Gabr is focused on improving the in-person events. “We're trying to add food trucks and a little live music to some of the evening experiences,” he said. “Just to create an environment where people who have a shared interest in an author can meet. There’s a hunger for real connection right now.