Interviews today with President Obama and controversial Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio officially launched Fusion with a special edition of the new America With Jorge Ramos. Actually, Fusion kicked off three minutes beforehand at 3:57 PM PT with a hip swiveling music video featuring actors playing CEO Isaac Lee and other senior executives plus various real hosts from the network. Amidst the dancing around the office and cameos by Barbara Walters and Diane Sawyer, the Fusion employees lyrically proclaimed themselves “the corporate godchild of ABC-Disney and Univision” that will “offer world class reporting with a pop culture theme.” Still, the dance video aside, ABC and Univision’s Fusion was very traditional in its first hour for a joint venture aimed at young English-speaking Hispanics and millennials. The dance routine was followed with a more sober intro by Ramos promising to “challenge the people that make the news” and asking “Why is the government spying on us and foreign leaders?” Then Fusion went straight into a traditional cable news show with interviews, produced segments, talking heads and a taped interview with Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
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Filmed today at the White House, the bulk of the Obama interview with Fusion White House Correspondent Jim Avila, who is also ABC News’ Senior National Correspondent, came in about half an hour into America. The interview mainly dealt with national security, healthcare reform and immigration issues. Surprisingly for a network launch, the President wasn’t interviewed by anchor Ramos himself, whose show is set to air at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT Monday to Friday. Last month, Ramos and Univision took Obama to task for omitting Spanish-language news divisions from his Syria whistle-stop network news tour when it looked like military action was imminent. Obama did eventually end up doing a sit-down with NBCUniversal-owned Telemundo on September 17. The Obama interview is set to be seen across various ABC News and Univision platforms on Tuesday.
Regardless of the big get of an Obama interview and the intro video today, swaths of the country didn’t get a chance to see the formal debut of Fusion. Time Warner Cable in NYC and LA didn’t carry the Miami-based network, neither did DirecTV in southern California, among others That was augmented a bit this morning with talent from Fusion’s new morning infotainment program The Morning Show on Good Morning America and GMA’s Lara Spencer and Sam Champion appearing from Miami.