Former vice president Al Gore has said he won't challenge George W. Bush again for the presidency in 2004, but it looks like he will challenge Fox chief Rupert Murdoch for control of the airwaves. Time.com reports that Gore has been busy in recent months linking investors with entertainment industry figures in order to build a media conglomerate that would seek to counter the conservative dominance of talk radio and cable news.
According to Time.com, Gore and Hyatt Legal Services founder Joel Hyatt (familiar from his firm's TV commercials) have been working to organize a cable channel that would provide an alternative to such outlets as top-rated Fox News and the increasingly conservative MSNBC. The network wouldn't necessarily be explicitly political; one idea for a show has kids filming news stories about their own communities, à la MTV's ''Unfiltered.''
Gore has long had a chilly relationship with showbiz. Back in the '80s, his wife, Tipper, started the drive that shamed record labels into putting parental-advisory citations on albums with risque lyrics. His 2000 running mate, Sen. Joe Lieberman, continues to scare Hollywood with threats of government regulation of content not suitable for kids.
Nonetheless, Gore and Hyatt have also been working to connect Hollywood liberals with investors like Sheldon and Anita Grobny, two married venture capitalists who announced in February that they wanted to spend $10 million to create a liberal radio network that would fill the vacuum of left-wing talk radio in a medium led by such hosts as Rush Limbaugh, Dr. Laura, and Michael Savage. Gore has introduced the Grobnys to director Rob Reiner and to author and former ''Saturday Night Live'' comic Al Franken, who may host a show on the couple's radio network.