As speculated, the controversial former MSNBC “Countdown” host signed a deal with public affairs channel Current TV, in which former VP Al Gore is a founder. Olbermann announced 2/8 at an 11 AM press conference he will host a one-hour, nightly primetime show on Current TV starting in late spring. He will also have an equity stake in Current Media and become the Chief News Officer for the network, which he labeled the only “independent news and information” channel in the US.
Said Olbermann: “This is the most exciting event in my career…I was looking forward to working somewhere where purely market forces are not the deciding factor in what we’re doing here.”
Gore, Current TV Chairman, also spoke on the call, saying he was extremely honored and delighted that Olbermann was coming to Current: “Keith is a great fit with Current in every way.”
In the release, Olbermann said 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.”
See more at the Current TV website.
RBR-TVBR observation: “Chief News Officer” is an odd title for someone who has clearly established himself as a commentator, more than a journalist. But Current TV needs content that will drive more viewers. The net says it is currently available in 75 million homes, but ratings are still low. As well, the network is usually provided only on the digital tier of cable MSOs, which requires a set-top box. We were a little surprised he didn’t end up at CNN.