Al Gore’s Current TV is doubling down on its strategy of building a 24/7 liberal network to compete with MSNBC by announcing that it will add morning programming to complement its primetime lineup.
Current will do this by adding simulcasts of two radio programs, “The Bill Press Show” and “The Stephanie Miller Show,” starting early this spring. Press’ show will air from 6-9AM and Miller’s from 9AM-12PM each weekday.
By simulcasting, Current can get the shows up and running faster and cheaper than if they had created the shows from scratch. Don Imus has been taking advantage of this format for years with a show originally broadcast on MSNBC before he moved to his current home at Fox Business Network.
Those cost savings are important for Current as they reportedly spent several million dollars to sign Keith Olbermann, in addition to what they are paying Cenk Uygur and Jennifer Granholm, to host primetime programs.
Even though Current is taking the cheap route by simulcasting Press and Miller, it’s still a big bet for a network that hasn’t made a dent in the ratings against their bigger brethren, and in a time slot that generally attracts little more than half as many viewers as the cable news networks do in primetime.
Current is taking aim at MSNBC , which it feels isn’t truly progressive since it airs Morning Joe, a show co-hosted by former Republican congressman Joe Scarborough. Current is hoping that Press will attract the liberal audience that is looking for an alternative to MSNBC and Fox News.
But if Fox Business’ ratings are any guide it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to siphon off viewers from MSNBC.
Current and Fox Business have approximately 60 million subscribers each. Fox Business averages just 13,000 viewers in the key A25-54 demo versus 166,000 at MSNBC. Expect similar morning numbers from Press and Miller, if viewers are even able to locate the channel.
The Current TV statement (partial):
MORNING BECOMES PROGRESSIVE:
CURRENT TV LAUNCHES NEW MORNING NEWS BLOCK FEATURING BILL PRESS AND STEPHANIE MILLER
“Talking Liberally: The Stephanie Miller Show” and
“Full Court Press: The Bill Press Show” To Debut in Early Spring
New York, NY – March 5, 2012 – Current TV today announced the launch of a new morning news block featuring live simulcasts of the radio programs “The Bill Press Show” from 6am-9am ET and “The Stephanie Miller Show” from 9am-12pm ET every weekday starting early this spring. These additions further strengthen Current’s line-up of political commentary and analysis programs which include “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” “The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur,” and “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm.”
“I’ve followed Stephanie and Bill for years. They provide the kind of smart, insightful news analysis that our viewers want to hear,” commented Current TV Chairman, Al Gore. “Bill brings a vital perspective directly from the heart of the Beltway, and Stephanie’s fresh take on politics and news has a decidedly outsider flair. We’re really looking forward to bringing their voices to our viewers.”
“2012 is a crucial year in the history of our country and we felt that morning cable television programming was simply not speaking to Americans with progressive viewpoints and ideas,” said David Bohrman, President, Current TV. “This new block will be an alternative to the tired banter and light news that is found on the air today. We are proud to be the only cable news network presenting independent, intelligent and engaging progressive programming for viewers every morning.”
Every weekday Current TV’s camera will be live inside Bill and Stephanie’s studios to bring viewers live coverage of two of the most progressive radio shows on the air today. Current viewers will now have access to daily live interviews, political commentary, listener calls, as well as Bill and Stephanie’s take on the news of the day.
“The addition of Bill and Stephanie to the Current TV news line up delivers on the promise of creating a 24 hour progressive cable news network that speaks truth to power and offers a true alternative to traditional programming,“ Bohrman continued.
“Current has the young, progressive and involved audience that I want to reach everyday,” said Stephanie Miller. “The Current team shares our view that progressive political news and commentary is critical for an intelligent and informed populace and we’re excited to be part of their growing line-up of talented news broadcasters.”
“The conservative stranglehold on morning cable news television in America is over,” said Bill Press. “Current TV and I share a common goal of cutting through the talking points and shouting heads to present sane, intelligent political commentary and analysis.”