Olbermann Rumored to be Joining Gore's Struggling TV Network
Keith Olbermann is rumored to be announcing Tuesday that he is joining Al Gore's struggling network Current TV.
The New York Times reported moments ago:
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.
On Monday a public relations agency hired by Mr. Olbermann scheduled a Tuesday morning conference call for an announcement about his next job. “He and his new partners will make an exciting announcement regarding the next chapter in his remarkable career,” the agency wrote in an e-mail.
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.”
NewsBusters readers may recall that Current has not been doing very well, and went through a large restructuring in November 2009 which included cutting more than 20 percent of its 380 total employees. This followed another layoff of 60 workers the prior year.
Talk about working your way down the ladder of success.
Odder still, the company that just finalized its purchase of NBC Universal, Comcast, owns a 10 percent equity stake in Current.
If Olbermann's departure from MSNBC had anything to do with concerns the new owners weren't going to let him get away with the nonsense he's infamous for, it seems that he may have jumped out of the fire and into the frying pan.
As for the possibility of Olbermann teaming up with Gore, it makes sense in so many ways, as it would bring together two of America's foremost purveyors of liberal propaganda.
Almost a match made in left-wing heaven.
The good news is that if this turns out to be the case, Americans will likely see far less of the former "Countdown" host as Current TV is only available in roughly 60 million homes typically in the digital tier which requires a separate receiver.
Makes it almost a metaphysical certitude his ratings will be even worse.
As such, let's hope this is indeed Olbermann's big move.
*****Update: There were more troubles at Current just eight months ago. As Reuters reported last June:
For much of the past year, Current TV has been quietly undergoing an overhaul that will change just about everything but the struggling channel's name. Current declined comment for this story.
It's a revitalization project Gore & Co. embarked on after exhausting a more lucrative possibility: selling the channel. Current's founding partner, Joel Hyatt, spent much of 2009 shopping the network with a price tag that wildly overestimated the company's worth, confirmed sources at several media firms. Current even had extensive sale talks as far back as 2007 with Google, where Gore serves as a senior advisor.
Now the focus has shifted to fixing Current, perhaps with an eye toward a sale down the road.
Is this Olbermann's interest: gaining an equity stake to assist the struggling company to succeed enough to finally be sold?
Or is there something else in play?
Hot Air's Allahpundit opined, "[I]f 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."
Indeed. Olbermann's been a pain in the derriere everywhere he's worked. For all we know, he's been shopping himself around for months knowing that things were coming to an end at MSNBC, and there weren't any buyers.
Could be the most arrogant person on television's only real job prospects involved him ponying up some Benjamins.