Left-leaning political talk show host Cenk Uygur has raised $4 million to expand his digital video company the Young Turks Network, and the money comes from a seemingly unlikely source: Republican Buddy Roemer, the former governor of Louisiana.
Roemer's private equity fund, Roemer, Robinson, Melville & Co., is providing $4 million in seed financing with an option to go up to $8 million, which the network plans to use to expand its reach through Internet streaming, local television and international syndication deals.
Uygur lost his cable talk show "The Young Turks" last year when Current TV was bought by Qatar-based Al Jazeera. Since then, Uygur has been trying to expand his Web presence through the Young Turks Network, which includes the online version of "The Young Turks" and the culture show "PopTrigger."
Uygur and Roemer, who made an unsuccessful run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, said they were aligned in their opposition to the influence of money in politics. Roemer is chairman of the Reform Project, a nonprofit organization that pushes for campaign finance reform.
"While we don’t necessarily agree on politics, Buddy and TYT both understand money’s damaging influence on our government," Uygur said in a statement.
Roemer said his firm had been looking for a "new media" outlet to invest in for two years. “We believe TYT will be one of the critical players moving forward in a new media world," he said in the statement. "They are a lot like me, sometimes wrong but never in doubt."
The Young Turks Network recently launched two shows on the digital video outlet Hulu, including a condensed version of "The Young Turks" and a weekly version of "PopTrigger."
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