The rumors about Keith Olbermann joining Al Gore's struggling television network came true Tuesday morning with the announcement that the former "Countdown" host was indeed moving to Current TV.
The press release contained comments from those involved that were nothing less than hysterical:
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.
Not surprising, there was nothing in the press release about how Current is struggling for survival and has laid off a lot of employees in the past three years. But I digress:
“ 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.” - Al Gore, Chairman and co-founder of Current Media
“ 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.” - Joel Hyatt, Executive Vice Chairman and co-founder of Current Media
"Nothing is more vital to a free America than a free media, and nothing is more vital to my concept of a free media than news produced independently of corporate interference. In Current Media, Al Gore and Joel Hyatt have created the model truth-seeking entity. The opportunity to partner with Al, Joel and Mark Rosenthal makes this the most exciting venture in my career." - Current Media press release quoting Keith Olbermann
The Huffington Post added:
[Olbermann] said the show "will be for all intents and purposes an improved and we hope amplified and stronger version of the show that I just did at my previous network."
Heaven help us. But Inside TV had still more:
Al Gore, chairman and co-founder of Current, said in a statement: “Keith Olbermann is a gifted thinker, an amazing talent and a powerful communicator, and having him tap Current as his new home is exciting and very much in line with the core vision we founded this network on: To engage viewers with smart, provocative and timely programming. In a world where there are fewer and fewer opportunities to hear truly distinct, unfettered voices on television, we are delighted to provide Keith with the independent platform and freedom that Current can, and does uniquely offer.”
But here's the really inconvenient truth at the very end of ITV's article:
The co-founders indicated that hiring Olbermann is the first step in a plan to build a primetime commentary block on the network, a move that presumably will make it more competitive with the major news networks. Current TV ratings are very modest, they’re not included in the usual Nielsen cable charts.
In other words, Current is a total nonentity at this point, and has been a tremendous failure for those involved.
Olbermann's addition is therefore a perfect fit.
Bon voyage, Keith.