I received this marketing e-mail yesterday about the new weekly TV show Open Book, coming May 13 on LinkTV:
Created and hosted by Ina Howard-Parker, an experienced book publicist and editor, and directed by Diane Paragas, an award-winning documentary and commercial filmmaker, Open Book is a new half-hour weekly television program about books and writers focusing on the contemporary and historical literary production in a different spot on the planet each week. The pilot will premiere nationally on LinkTV (DirectTV channel 375, Dish Network channel 9014) on May 13th at 11:30pm EST. A special sneak preview will broadcast on Monday, May 11th at 8:30pm EST on LinkTV as well as on New York City's Time Warner Cable channel 34 at 11pm EST. For additional local cable channels carrying LinkTV, go here.
The premiere features writers and other artists -- including actors and musicians -- currently living and working in Ft. Greene, Brooklyn. The non-writers read from their historical predecessors including former Ft. Greene residents Walt Whitman, Richard Wright and Henry Miller. Guests in episode one include: Actor Jeffrey Wright (Basquiat, Angels in America, W) reading his favorite Walt Whitman poem "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry"; global bestseller Ishmael Beah (A Long Way Gone); Jennifer Egan (The Keep); Bill Lee (legendary jazz musician and father of Spike Lee); novelist, playwright and musician Carl Hancock Rux (Asphault) reading from Henry Miller and Richard Wright; 2008 American Book Award-winner Moustafa Bayoumi (How Does It Feel to Be a Problem); Tony Award winning poet Suheir Hammad (Def Jam Poetry); Whitman devotee Darryl Blaine Ford; and singer-songwriter Nucomme.
Every episode is shot entirely on location to translate the richness and beauty of books to the screen. Open Book breaks literary coverage out of the studio and into the open where writers' influences and inspirations can be shared. "We're really creating short films -- combining readings, performances and interviews -- in order to create a moving portrait of each artist in the place they live and work while pushing boundaries as filmmakers and artists ourselves," says Paragas.In addition to the weekly half-hour broadcast, each guest's segment from Open Book will be released as an independent short film online through blogs, websites and social media. Each of the shorts will be embedded with links to additional information about the featured guest and location, as well as to opportunities to buy their work, see them in person, or otherwise engage with the material.
"Our aim is to help writers and publishers reach diverse and diffuse audiences through the media they're already consuming, and then to bring them back to books," says Howard-Parker. "In the new media landscape, the richness and excitement of books needs to translate to a wider range of media, whether television, iPhone downloads or Facebook pages. Even for non-readers, Open Book stands alone as enjoyable, visually and emotionally compelling storytelling."
Many in the publishing industry are already taking notice, including literary great Alice Walker. "Open Book is a breath of fresh air in a literary room that's been closed for centuries to some of the finest voices on the planet," says the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Color Purple. "In the hands of Ina Howard-Parker, whom I know to be intensely creative, committed, and fascinated by the stories of people who live so well this gift called Life, it will lift our spirits and embolden our hearts while stretching our minds and imaginations in ways that move us."
For advance clips from some of the Ft. Greene episode guests, go here.
LinkTV is available in over 30 million homes on Direct TV channel 375, Dish Network channel 9014 and more than 50 local cable networks in the largest markets nationwide. LinkTV has over 5 million weekly viewers who tune in for at least 2.5 hours of programming, as well as millions of global viewers who watch through online.