Poker on TV: Q&A with Dan Russell of Poker Central

Poker Central is a new channel dedicated to the great game and it’s beaming out shows 24/7. We talk to Dan Russell, Senior Vice President of Programming, to find out what the future holds…

Congrats on the launch of Poker Central! Can you let us know exactly what sort of shows we can look forward to on your channel?

You can expect to see a variety of popular television genres, all focused on poker. We will, of course, air plenty of great tournaments from the most popular and established tours located all around the world. You’ll be able to watch traditional tournaments as well as special formats such as heads-up, team, women-only, all-star, live, cash, and high roller. The Poker Central schedule will also include programs ‘off the felt’, including player biographies, feature documentaries and movies, insider perspectives and unfiltered interviews, travel and lifestyle shows. We are going to cover the world of poker from every perspective imaginable!

How will it work with the different time zones? Will you effectively run the same shows over a 12-hour schedule and then repeat for the other half of the world?

We are planning to The Poker Central schedule will work off of a single broadcast feed and includes a four-hour East Coast prime time from 8pm-midnight, and then repeats for a West Coast prime from 9pm-1am. A similar schedule will also apply to daytime programming. It is a 24/7 schedule, so no matter when you turn on Poker Central, you get programs that are for and about poker.

Is it going to be free to view or subscription based?

If you are already a Roku, Amazon Fire or Xbox subscriber, there are no additional fees to view Poker Central.

Are you going to be offering any interactive shows where viewers can get involved – such as Twitch streaming?

Poker Central already has a Twitch channel, with popular shows like Poker Central Live with Maria Ho. Go to www.twitch.tv/pokercentral to watch.

You’ve signed up three of the world’s best players as Poker Central ambassadors – Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu. Can you let us know what they’re going to be doing for you?

Along with being ambassadors for Poker Central on all media platforms, we are developing original series and specials for each of them. Stay tuned!

Can you give us an idea of a typical week’s schedule?

Our primetime schedule will feature lots of shows – Premier League Poker, Face the Ace, 100 Greatest Poker Moments, High Stakes Poker, The Big Game, Women’s World Open, Doubles Poker Championship, Alpha 8, and Heads-Up Grand Slam. World Poker Tour and Heartland Poker Tour will also be slotted prominently within the schedule. Also, Winning Poker will air on weekend mornings, providing instruction and strategy for our viewers.

There’s a lot of fascinating archive footage available – do you plan on running stuff like this on the channel?

Yes, we have a few series and specials currently in development that involve the use of great poker footage from the past. We are also utilising archives for an original series that will premiere in the first quarter of 2016, Pokerography. Phil Hellmuth is featured in the first episode and you can see a sneak peek of this new show on October 18 at 8pm ET.

Will Poker Central be running more strategy-based shows?

We see instructional and strategy based programming as an important part of our mix. We will be airing Winning Poker out of the gate. We will also be introducing Poker VT (virtual trainer) into the schedule over the winter months. We are also developing original content in this area. My goal is to have instructional and strategy shows somewhere in the schedule everyday in the near future.

Are you planning on any live broadcasts from tournaments – streams from final tables with commentary?

Yes, live programming is a priority for us. You can expect to see live streams and coverage of events on a regular basis in the coming months.

Can you tell us a secret about Poker Central that will get us excited?

We are planning to roll out upwards of ten world premiere series consisting of 100+ hours over the next 12 months.

You can watch Poker Central on Roku, Amazon Fire and Xbox One. Xbox 360 and other platforms are coming soon.


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