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Posted by Ed Elkin on August 17, 1999 at 17:40:43:
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 1999
Subject: INNERGY: Gurus to star on new-age TV network
Gurus to star on new-age TV network
London Sunday Times
DAVE STEWART, the Eurythmics star, is to launch a new age
television network. It will be backed by Paul Allen, the third
richest man in the world.
The station, Innergy, is due to air next spring. It will feature
gurus who believe that ageing is self-inflicted, that death is
optional and material success a sign of spiritual growth.
For a movement routinely ridiculed for its naive blend of
eastern spirituality and western science, the endorsement by
Allen, a multibillionaire and co-founder of Microsoft, marks an
intriguing step towards the mainstream. According to Rita
Clifton, chief executive of Interbrand, Newton & Sorrell, a
marketing adviser to the channel, a third of British adults are
interested in new age beliefs.
Stewart, a self-professed internet nerd, is a friend of Allen and
has already been instrumental in persuading him to support the
arts in Britain, with the announcement last month of plans for a
£30m film and multimedia centre on the site of an abandoned
hospital in London. Stewart will combine the role of creative
director of the channel - supplying health, cookery and travel
programmes - with a revival of his 1980s partnership with the
singer Annie Lennox in Eurythmics. He is currently directing
Honest, a movie featuring three members of the girl band All
Allen has a long-standing interest in the channel. According to a
spokesman, he first held negotiations about launching it in the
mid-1990s with Quincey Jones, the record producer. His
interest was revived this year by a new consortium, brought
together by Morgan Mason, a film producer, whose credits
include the 1989 hit Sex, Lies and Videotape. The consortium
will soon announce financial backing from United
Pan-European Communications (UPC), a £5 billion cable
television group, in which Microsoft has a 7.8% stake. This
weekend, Jason Hunke, a spokesman for Allen, declined to
discuss his role. "We don't talk about business deals until they
have been signed," he said.
Allen's attempt to use television to promote inner peace has
parallels with the creation of CNN to defuse the cold war. Its
founder, Ted Turner, a billionaire, announced in 1980: "We're
gonna bring world peace and get rich in the process." But,
apart from his wealth, Allen has little in common with the
flamboyant media mogul.
He started Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975 after the pair met
at high school, but retired after he was diagnosed with
Hodgkin's disease, a rare cancer, in 1982. He held a 24% stake,
which provided the basis of his fortune, recently estimated at
Although the cancer went into remission, Allen, 46,
reconsidered the purpose of his life and decided to enjoy
himself while he could. He invested more than £300m in
Dreamworks, the Hollywood studio, and has poured funds into
a search for alien life.
His parties are staged on a grand scale. Last year he chartered a
luxurious cruise ship and paid to fly 400 guests to join him for
four days in Alaska at an estimated cost of £6.25m.
But he has not married, and is believed to have avoided close
relationships. He is closest to his mother, Faye, and his sister
Jody Allen Patton, who is working with Stewart on the London
film studio-cum-arts centre.
According to Carol Wilkins, a research consultant to Innergy,
new age values have been embraced by a new international
class, which has more in common with like-minded people
around the world than with other members of their own
"They are people who are interested in self-actualisation, drawn
largely from 16 to 34-year-olds or retired people," she said.
"They don't sound or dress differently from other people, but
they want something more spiritual and meaningful than most."
It is a craving that has been expertly served by Deepak Chopra,
one of Innergy's founders and the bestselling author of "Creating
Affluence" and "Seven Spiritual Laws". He once wrote that "people
who have achieved an enormous amount of success are
inherently very spiritual". Other gurus on the channel will
include Stuart Wilde and Marianne Williamson.
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