Can Wall Street drama get MOJO on?
Image from "Wall Street Warriors"
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KAI RYSSDAL: If you're among those who've bought a high-definition television, but haven't sprung for an HD package to go with it just yet, you might not have heard of MOJO. MOJO's an HD channel. It's trying to pump up its ratings with some financial flash. Tonight's the first installment of what MOJO's billing as "Money Night." It's not exactly talking heads and ticker tape. Teeing up the evening will be a show called "Wall Street Warriors."
Our New York Bureau Chief Jill Barshay took a look.
JILL BARSHAY: The cable network MOJO is calling Wall Street Warriors a docu-money series, but it's more like MTV's Real World meets Wall Street.
WALL STREET WARRIORS CLIP: How much is it?
About 50 so far.
Get 50 more.
I'm going to.
Go get it done now.
That's Larry Alintoff. He trades orange juice futures, and he's one of the six stars of Wall Street Warriors.
The others include a young Ferrari-driving private equity fund manager, an ingenue who's just graduated from college and dreams of her big break and the stock brokers who spend the days smiling and dialing.
WALL STREET WARRIORS CLIP There's no better feeling than getting a guy on the phone that you really don't know, forcing some stock down his throat, and he ends up buying it.
You can do it joint with your wife.
That's what gets me going every day.
Mojo's a fledgling 4-year-old network backed by major cable companies Time Warner, Comcast and Cox. Sean Skelton is co-producer and director of Wall Street Warriors. He says the network's only available to viewers who pay up for those high-definition cable packages, and can afford a $1,000 High-Def TV.
SEAN SKELTON: A lot of our viewers are Wall Streeters. I'm sure the Wall Streeters like the fact that we're making a show about them. They are a pretty vain crowd.
MOJO's Money Night lineup also includes two new shows: "Bobby G: Adventure Capitalist" and "Start-Up Junkies."
Bobby Tulsiani is a media analyst at Jupiter Research. He says these Wall Street shows brim with tales of financial excess, just the kind of thing to lure the coveted audience of 20 to 30-year-old men with money.
BOBBY TULSIANI: They're turning away from television. They're turning towards video games. They're turning towards online video and Internet activity, so if you can find a television station that reaches them, you can demand a premium advertising rate.
Wall Street is hardly new ground for the networks. Failed attempts include "The Street" and "Bull," two shows which didn't even run a full season in 2000. Now high finance is back on a roll. The creators of HBO's hit show "Entourage" are pitching a new series about Wall Street. VH1 recently did a show on fabulous hedge fund traders, and Tulsiani says the cable business networks are targeting these young men with attractive young women and punchy, sportscaster-style programming.
TULSIANI: You see a guy like Jim Cramer becoming a celebrity. You see another station like Fox Business trying to compete with CNBC
Fresh from his orange juice trading pit, Wall Street Warriors star Alintoff says he's targeting MOJO's young male audience as well -- as potential investors for his new hedge fund.
LARRY ALTINOFF: The exposure that, you know, the MOJO network is going to give us, basically I felt would help to launch the hedge fund and raise assets.
Much of this programming was cooked up before the markets went south. MOJO and Alintoff have to be hoping young males will be as interested in watching money lost as they are money gained.
In New York, I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.