A new 24-hour news network is launching today. It's called France 24 and it's that new state-funded all-news channel from France meant to rival CNN, the BBC, Al-Jazeera and the rest of these channels. You can see it for yourself here.
Personally I don't see the need for this channel- France already has a couple of all news channels. There's a new channel called BFM, and there's LCI which has been on the air for many years now. LCI is probably most famous not for its news, but for one of its female presenters, gorgeous babe Melissa Theuriau. Melissa is an Internet sensation, supposedly the most beautiful anchorwoman in the entire world according to all these fans who are crazy about her. There's this big cult following of fans in the English-speaking world who don't know any French, but they all know who she is!
This government was bent, though, on creating this state channel with government money. They want to put a French viewpoint out to the world, and the best way to do that is to have a channel in English. If they want it to be a big hit they should simply hire Melissa Theuriau. Then all her fans in North America will watch. Oh, and they also have an Arabic channel, too, so they figure to make a dent in the Middle East.
This comes on the heels of the launch of several news channels in the last year or so. Al-Jazeera English of course launched weeks ago and is devoting most of its resources and time to covering news in the Third World. People are saying that while the presentation isn't much different from BBC or CNN, the stories being presented are different- lots of news from Africa, for example. But still no distribution deal of any substance in the USA, so no one is getting to see any of it. At least they aren't running bin Laden videos yet.
Other recent launches include Russia Today ( an English all-news channel from Russia) and Telesur, that all-news effort from our friend in Venezuela Hugo Chavez. Never mind that Venezuela already had a news channel; I guess he thought it was too "fair and balanced".
Coming next year is CNBC Africa from Johannesburg, and the much ballyhooed Fox Business News channel which just recently launched news updates on the Internet.
UPDATE: For those of you curious about Melissa Theuriau you can find her unofficial site here. Seems she's not at LCI anymore; she bolted to M6 to host a show there called Forbidden Zone. What she needs to do is get some English language lessons and then rake in the dough bigtime over at CNN.