NYT: Olbermann to join … Al Gore’s Current TV

posted at 9:43 pm on February 7, 2011 by Allahpundit

Unconfirmed thus far, but the Times hears buzz. Two words: “equity stake.”

One of the people with knowledge of the plans said Mr. Olbermann would have an equity stake in Current TV. The people insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized by their employers to comment in advance of the official announcement…

Current TV has set up a presentation with advertisers for Wednesday afternoon in Manhattan to announce its future plans. The channel may be betting on Mr. Olbermann to put it on the cable map. The low-rated five-year-old channel needs the help. Targeting young people, it originally subsisted on YouTube-style submissions and video journalists. More recently it started producing and acquiring traditional television series, like repeats of “This American Life.”…

A move to Current TV would challenge Mr. Olbermann’s fans of his MSNBC show — where he drew about a million viewers a night — to follow him to a channel that is considerably less accessible. Current TV is available in only about 60 million homes, and is usually available only on the digital tier of cable television systems, which requires a separate receiver. MSNBC, which is owned by NBC Universal, is available in 85 million homes and is almost always available as a basic cable entry…

With Current TV, Mr. Olbermann would also gain a measure of independence. Unlike most cable channels, including MSNBC, which are owned by large media companies, Current is privately and independently owned by Mr. Gore and other backers.

Why would Olby settle for a rinky-dink operation like Current after being MSNBC’s 8 p.m. go-to guy for years on end? Could be that they outbid for him, but a big payday seems unlikely considering that the network was struggling so badly last year that it had to remake its whole operation. (Besides, who else would be bidding? CNN?) The key, I’d bet, is the equity provision, i.e. control. MSNBC’s overall leftward tilt was partly Olbermann’s doing; presumably he’ll have an even bigger influence over the programming at the “new” Current TV. In fact, per the Reuters story at the last link, the early buzz about Current when Gore got involved in 2004 was that it would be a left-wing alternative to Fox News. Having tried and semi-succeeded to build precisely that at MSNBC, Olby may be thinking of this as a second shot but with even greater leverage. Plus, if even one-tenth of the stories are true about what it’s like to work with him, he’ll need some equity to ensure that he doesn’t eventually get shoved out here too.

So Olby gets his own fiefdom and Gore and the other owners finally, finally get some traction online after flailing for seven years. Win/win! And per the earlier post, Arianna and her AOL/HuffPo leviathan will get some competition for whatever liberal video projects she’s planning to roll out. Meanwhile, on the right … not much going on online. Where are the Koch brothers when you need them?


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Wow, the Gore-Olbermann affiliation looks like even more a loser than AOL-HuffPo.

Fun to watch.

petefrt on February 8, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Wow, the Gore-Olbermann affiliation looks like even more a loser than AOL-HuffPo.

Fun to watch.

petefrt on February 8, 2011 at 7:00 AM

-
I was just thinking the same thing…it’s only a matter of which one tanks first.

diogenes on February 8, 2011 at 7:20 AM

And then we will all join AOL together … big giant liars flock forming.

tarpon on February 8, 2011 at 7:37 AM

No matter if it goes belly up tomorrow, Gore and Olby walk away with millions. Not only will they walk away with millions, they will walk right into their next million dollar deal. That’s how these things work. The only losers are the investors.

Blake on February 8, 2011 at 8:05 AM

Equity is a good idea

That means Olberman can lose money for both of them.

seven on February 8, 2011 at 8:06 AM

Less people watch Current than MSNBC. Kieth is movin’ up in the world.

vcferlita on February 8, 2011 at 8:28 AM

KO goes to Current, 1/4 of his viewers leave MSNBC. MSNBC tanks, Current can’t afford the overhead, MSNBC can’t afford the overhead. Looks like a win, win to me.

Guest1.1 on February 8, 2011 at 8:46 AM

Since he will be even more irrelevant now with a smaller viewing audience, will we still be subjected to the daily barrage of stories about him as if he is still relevant? Hot Air gives him more importance than he ever got anywhere else!

silvernana on February 8, 2011 at 9:07 AM

We have Current TV on our cable lineup. Never watch it, but it’s there. Cable throws this flotsam in there with music channels and foreign language channels and buy-this-POS-thing channels as a way to claim they are offering 200 channels. Lucky if ten percent of those get any viewing at all, but that’s how cable is. Doesn’t appear that satellite is much better…all their channels are bundled and you get whatever they offer in their “package”. Still, it’s better than the old days when you had three networks and maybe two independents locally. When I was a kid back in west central Illinois if you had a big antenna rig you could pick up Chicago stations. Now that was living!

SKYFOX on February 8, 2011 at 9:41 AM

Olby to Oblivion and Beyond

phillypolitics on February 8, 2011 at 9:47 AM

I honestly hate to make personal judgements against individuals.

But good golly, I could live quite happily without ever seeing another KO UTUBE remark.

I think he should have earned quite enough money to live comfortably, so I can say that without guilt.

I don’t wish him ill-will personally, but I do hope he becomes one of those faint voices on the fringe.

AnninCA on February 8, 2011 at 9:56 AM

I think there needs to be a new category of mental illness, and that’s politically-obsessed and challenged. *haha

AnninCA on February 8, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Its one thing to make millions, off the back of an established organization – its another to generate success on your own.

Olby doesnt have the chops, nor does Current have the appeal , content or savvy to reach 10 times the audience they need.

Remember when Rosie was “going on to huge things for big money” after The View… yeah – I didnt either.

Or maybe Howard Sterns bolt to Satellite radio….. they took a $450M bath when he cashed out, while not bringing half the audience to just BREAK EVEN, hence the Sirius/XM merger.

Add in the baffonery and exposure of the fraud called “Global Warming” – to Gore’s name – combined with Olby… a useless closet in the world of media buildings…

Odie1941 on February 8, 2011 at 10:08 AM

I think Current Tv is down to about 4 “channels.” They did have a fairly popular Rotten Tomatoes channel, but that ended for some reason. As for programming from the right, what happened to Kelsey Grammer’s big Right Network roll out? I heard a lot about it for months, then nothing. Anyone know?

di butler on February 8, 2011 at 10:10 AM

This is the network that you’re forced to watch on Virgin Airlines. Nice going.

RedRedRice on February 8, 2011 at 10:16 AM

I just might tape a bunch of shows in the middle of the night just to throw their stats off.
I figure me taping the show will double their viewership…I hear someone in either Nebraska, or Iowa actually does watch the channel…just a rumor.

right2bright on February 8, 2011 at 10:27 AM

That’s alright . . . It’s better to have all those snakes in one pit.

rplat on February 8, 2011 at 10:30 AM

I do hope he becomes one of those faint voices on the fringe.

AnninCA on February 8, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Didn’t that happen several years ago?

I truly can’t believe that channel is still going. We’ve had satellite for about 9 years now. I remember Current replacing something else. We watched it for all of 10 minutes, looked at each other and wondered how it was any different from watching a bunch of moonbats on Youtube.

I took it off the channel list and haven’t wondered about it since.

TugboatPhil on February 8, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Well Olby is going to charge in on his white horse and save the day doncha know.

jeanie on February 8, 2011 at 10:45 AM

I do not want to be between the server and these guys when lunch is served…

right2bright on February 8, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Current TV = extreme obscurity

Carl on February 8, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Olby’s doing this because he’s super serial.

Darksean on February 8, 2011 at 11:11 AM

I do hope he becomes one of those faint voices on the fringe.
AnninCA on February 8, 2011 at 9:56 AM

Olbermann already was a faint voice on the fringe. In terms of viewership, MSNBC is practically a cable-access channel. It’s available in 85 million homes, and its number one program is watched by 1 million? And, as near as I can tell, most of those are conservatives who just want to see what the looney toons are ranting about this week. The bulk of people who genuinely BELIEVE this crap aren’t mainlining it; they’re watching the carefully-regulated pablum on ABC, NBC and CBS.

There are hundreds of ranting lefty “journalists” whose media share has been drying up over the last several years. The number of MSNBC-haters is huge; they can replace Olbermann in two seconds. I understand Olbermann has his own base of people who specifically make fun of him, and some of them might break off to follow. But that’s not going to be enough to set up his own empire.

MSNBC will keep going without Olbermann. But outside of his support network, he’s going to be the liberal version of David Frum. The supply in that field is huge, and the demand is strictly limited.

logis on February 8, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Olby’s doing this because he’s super serial.
Darksean on February 8, 2011 at 11:11 AM

Olbermannbearpig.

logis on February 8, 2011 at 11:22 AM

I’m not sure which one’s credibility will take the worst hit from this Gore’s or Olberman’s.

Scrappy on February 8, 2011 at 11:30 AM

Olbermannbearpig.

logis on February 8, 2011 at 11:22 AM

I’m not sure which one’s credibility will take the worst hit from this Gore’s or Olberman’s.

Scrappy on February 8, 2011 at 11:30 AM

It’s a twofer… lol

Fallon on February 8, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Air America Part D’uh

MJBrutus on February 8, 2011 at 11:40 AM

Don’t we already have a comedy channel?

BobMbx on February 8, 2011 at 12:15 PM

Current has 23000 viewers in prime time. KO will increase that to hundreds of thousands almost immediately. He’ll get lots of praise and algore will cackle with glee. Then the reality of living with Captain Bly will set it…KO is utterly unmangageable. Eventually, as his resume confirms, KO will be out and Current will go on the scrap heap of history.

DrW on February 8, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Olby and Al can go chase the honeys after the show wraps. Al’s got a feevah…

Philly on February 7, 2011 at 9:53 PM

I think you misunderstand the relationship.

unclesmrgol on February 8, 2011 at 1:16 PM

The only losers are the liberal investors.

Blake on February 8, 2011 at 8:05 AM

FIFY… although it may be redundant with “losers” in there as well.

dominigan on February 8, 2011 at 1:50 PM

Hey, maybe we can get Franken on board after 2014. They could call it the Puke, Snot, and Gore show.

chickasaw42 on February 8, 2011 at 3:36 PM

I forgot I had AOL News bookmarked, until I deleted the bookmark yesterday.

I have no Current TV anything to delete, except the knowledge that is where I can find Keith Olbermann.

No doubt, HA and affiliated sites will shove video clips in our faces at every turn, just like they do with Bill Mahr and Jon Stewart.

Moesart on February 8, 2011 at 5:10 PM

There’s no guarantee Olbermannisn’t getting a big pay day.

Surely the liberals at Current TV can figure out how Air America stole from the Boy Scouts as well.

BKennedy on February 8, 2011 at 5:39 PM

Great new–zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

cableguy615 on February 8, 2011 at 8:01 PM

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