The waiting is over. Liberals who have been wondering what former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann was going to do next can now follow his liberal rants on AL Gore’s Current TV:
Keith Olbermann, the acclaimed broadcaster and writer whose verbal pyrotechnics and moral passion have outraged, informed, and dazzled viewers of “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” for the past eight years, is bringing his slashing wit, analytical eye, and distinctive commentary to Current Media, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning TV and digital media company that was founded in 2005 by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt and is now distributed in more than 75 million households around the world. The news was announced today in New York.
In addition to executive producing and hosting a new nightly primetime news and commentary show, Olbermann will also serve as the company’s Chief News Officer and will have an equity stake in Current Media. The new show will air weeknights in primetime beginning later in 2011. According to the release:
Keith Olbermann’s show will lead a programming slate on Current that includes original and acquired TV series aimed at a broad adult audience. Current features compelling stories about everyday heroes and ordinary people in extraordinary situations, and takes you to sometimes dangerous and always intriguing places. Current shines a light on controversial subjects, tackling hot issues of the day in a thoughtful and sometimes humorous way. Current engages its viewers by sparking debate and discussion, and via interactive formats that allow viewers to inform its stories.
Olbermann, who was suspended by MSNBC for two days last year after it was revealed he made political contributions in violation of network policy, abruptly ended his show in January with one year remaining on his contract. Since leaving MSNBC, Olbermann has remained largely out of public view except for tweeting about politics, sports and the weather to his 225,000 plus followers; far fewer than the one million viewers he averaged on television.
Choosing Gore’s cable network is an odd choice. While the two share the same liberal left political belief structure, Olbermann will be hard pressed to duplicate his success at MSNBC. CurrentTV is carried in roughly60 million households on a digital tier only, which requires both a separate receiver and a higher fee for most cable subscribers, compared to the 85 million households that MSNBC is available on basic cable. With the limited content that Current has been producing, they haven’t been attracting much of an audience. Olbermann will be starting from ground zero for the most part.
However, these challenges didn’t dim the excitement of CurrentTV executives about the Olbermann hiring. Al Gore is quoted on the network’s website that “ In a world where there are fewer and fewer opportunities to hear truly distinct, unfettered voices on television, we are delighted to provide Olbermann with the independent platform and freedom that Current can and does uniquely offer.” Does that mean he can make political contributions to guests?
Joel Hyatt, executive vice chairman and co-founder, was equally effusive saying “Keith Olbermann is one of our society’s most courageous talents. He speaks truth to power. He calls them as he sees them. He speaks his mind. Our society needs his kind of thoughtful analysis and commentary.”
Courageous? He just quit his show on MSNBC leaving his viewers hanging in the wind wondering what happened. Olbermann craves the camera and now gets another chance to spew his left-wing venom with far fewer restrictions than he had placed upon him at MSNBC. The difference this time is that no one will be watching, and that’s good for America.