With 2.97 million subscribers on YouTube, political news show The Young Turks, is incredibly popular. It’s founder, Cenk Uygur already has a production deal with Univision’s Fusion, and now wants to break into legacy television, according to an interview with USA Today.
“It was totally accidental,” Uygur says of his show’s popularity among young people. “Our audience is young. But it turns out we’re older than the average YouTube audience. It’s 13 to 24, whereas we’re 18 to 34. Now that we have a big presence on Facebook, that’s made us older. We’re stretching to 45. But I want the whole spectrum. I’m interested in producing more TV shows.”
But legacy television hasn’t been such a good fit for Uygur in the past. He doesn’t use a teleprompter, which makes TV executives nervous, Uygur said.
“If I’m off the teleprompter, management doesn’t get to see what I’m going to say,” Uygur said. “They deem it to be a risk they can’t control. They’re risk-averse.”
Uygur provided political commentary on MSNBC in 2010, and became a weekend host on the network in 2011, but was replaced six months later by the Rev. Al Sharpton. He then got a show on Current TV that aired from December 5, 2011 to August 15, 2013. From 2012 to 2013, he was the chief news officer of Current TV, succeeding Keith Olbermann.
The Young Turks started off as a radio station. Now it not only has a growing audience of loyal viewers on YouTube, it also has a huge following on Facebook.
“We had a little over 1 million views last January,” Uygur told USA Today. “Less than a year and a half later, we now have 55 million to 60 million views a month just on Facebook. On (“over-the-top” video services), we are top five in minutes viewed. We’re on Comcast’s Watchable. We just did a deal with Amazon.”