Current TV, which fired Keith Olbermann last week and is now locked in a nasty battle of words, is also being threatened with a lawsuit by the former anchor and is in danger of being dropped by Time Warner Cable.
Reuters Peter Lauria is reporting that if the network fails to meet audience benchmarks for two consecutive quarters, Time Warner Cable can drop the low-rated network.
If Current TV misses the audience benchmark in two consecutive quarters, another clause is triggered that would allow Time Warner Cable to drop the channel. The condition was built into the most recent distribution pact between the two parties, which was signed in 2010.
“Time Warner Cable has been flirting with the idea of pulling Current off its systems for some time now,” said one of the sources, who all spoke on condition of anonymity.
That would be devastating to Current. The network was founded by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, who had hoped to build Current into what they said would be a purely progressive network, as opposed to MSNBC, which Hyatt called a “confused, inauthentic brand” in an interview last week.
Gore and Hyatt, who saw Olbermann as the linchpin of their primetime strategy, had to scramble last week after they fired the volatile anchor and replaced his show with one hosted by the ethically-challenged former governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer.
Based on Friday’s debut, the decision to replace Olbermann with Spitzer did nothing to help Current stay above the benchmark trigger as he attracted just 47,000 viewers compared to Olbermann’s March average of 152,000.
But Current should have known what they were getting with Spitzer whose show on CNN struggled to attract half the audience that Olbermann had at MSNBC when they went head to head. Spitzer was eventually fired by CNN due to consistently low ratings.
It seems that they could have tried a little harder to find someone viewers actually wanted to watch.
If Olbermann is going to sue he’d better hurry up while there is still a network to sue.