Keith Olbermann to Current TV?

The New York Times’ Bill Carter and Brian Stelter scoop that Keith Olbermann may be joining Current TV…

A move to Current TV would challenge Mr. Olbermann’s fans of his MSNBC show — where he drew about a million viewers a night — to follow him to a channel that is considerably less accessible. Current TV is available in only about 60 million homes, and is usually available only on the digital tier of cable television systems, which requires a separate receiver. MSNBC, which is owned by NBC Universal, is available in 85 million homes and is almost always available as a basic cable entry.

But the addition of Mr. Olbermann, the former sports anchor who made himself a progressive star at MSNBC, would surely elevate the channel, bringing it attention it has never before received. The channel also wears its liberal politics on its sleeve.

With Current TV, Mr. Olbermann would also gain a measure of independence. Unlike most cable channels, including MSNBC, which are owned by large media companies, Current is privately and independently owned by Mr. Gore and other backers.

It is also possible that Mr. Olbermann will separately pursue other ventures, like an Internet destination.

38 Responses to “Keith Olbermann to Current TV?”

  1. I think it’s a good niche move for him, if this works out. He’s an older man now; already having been through the mainstream channels. I think he’ll be happy as an outside intercoluter, sticking it to The Man, and his small band of followers will find him.

    Like him or hate him – I’m in both camps – Keith Olbermann in a smaller venue with no restrictions is a better fit.

  2. It is annoyingly clear he does not like restrictions so that will be good for him on that regard. However, he will have a much smaller viewership base on Current. I hope he will be able to handle that.

  3. It’s a small but important notch above full-time blogging. Congrats!

  4. Is Current TV even rated by Nielsen? Sounds sorta like FBN hiring Imus to get more carriage..

    So, I take it the Current TV “deal” somehow sidesteps the non compete clause?

  5. mlong5000 Says:

    KO and Al Gore a perfect fit I guess…can’t see Al firing him for anything he’ll say on air but his behind the scene relationship with the people he works with will be the real challenge as we all know he dosen’t win too many freinds with co-workers.

    This is KO’s last chance there’s no where else for him to go after CURRENT TV.

  6. I’m sure Keith will do for Current what Dan Rather did for HDNet. Which is to say, Keith can satisfy his craven desire to stay on TV, and the rest of the world will easily avoid him.

  7. Jwe: The rest of the world could have avoided him on MSNBC, as well, if they wanted to.

    Dan Rather on HDNet is a good analogy. Rather gets do do what he wants without much interference from management and is able to produce some pretty good journalism in return.

    I’m not sure what kind of show KO will do on this network but I suspect it may be somewhat different than ‘Countdown’.

    We’ll know in a couple of hours.

  8. Josh Kalb Says:

    I doubt he will do a “Countdown” type show. And this TV thing won’t be his only gig. He’ll probably do something online. And I still think he should join MLB Network, since he’s obsessed with baseball. Plus MLB is headquartered in MSNBC’s old New Jersey building.

  9. Josh Kalb Says:

    Apparently he will host a nightly “news and commentary” show. I wonder how much it will resemble Countdown.

    I did get a laugh at his new title: “Chief News Officer, Current Media”

  10. I’m glad Olbermann will have the freedom to be Olbermann. So when he says something outrageous, he can call himself into an office for a shouting match, and then he’ll threaten himself and storm out.

    This show will be a nothing burger. Just like Rather on HDNet, this is the official moment Keith Olbermann is put out to pasture.

  11. So, will cable news networks now start adding Current TV to the non compete clause? That said, I’ve watched about 20 minutes of Current TV in my entire life!

    Not that I’m a fan of KO or anything but think this might give them an identity. I’m not down with the lame “pods” type programming on there. (No idea if that still goes on or not.)

  12. Both Rather and Olbermann are talented personalities who chaffed under supervision. Rather has done well on HDNet and I have no doubt KO will also do well at Current.

    Perhaps along with Rather at HDNet an analogy might be Imus at FBN. All three are big fish in small ponds.

  13. Terrance I don’t think the non-compete clause will come into play. From what I read it was only 4-9 months and it will be that long before the new show is likely launched.

  14. “Chief News Officer, Current Media”

    I guess they couldn’t fit “McCarthyite smear merchant who attacks people personally and slanders their families and friends” on the business card.

    Although Limbaugh probably already has that copyrighted.

    There, I’m being bipartisan: a shot to the left and a shot to the right.

  15. fritz3 – ah, thought I read something about KO not being allowed on cable news for a year or two.

  16. “ah, thought I read something about KO not being allowed on cable news for a year or two.”

    No one knows for sure but the best reporting I remember said it was something like the non-compete clause that Conan signed; 6 months +/-. I could be wrong though.

  17. Reports are that the non-compete clause does not apply in this situation.

  18. I guess the Current TV idea was slipped in the back door.. Perhaps under the sports action everyone assumed he would take on? Not sure how you’d categorize Current TV right now as anything other than crap.

  19. You’ve seen 20 minutes, and don’t know what their current programming is. Care to explain how you know Current TV is crap?

  20. Current TV probably does not qualify as a cable news network by most anyone’s standards. It’s certainly omitted from the conversation about the ratings wars. I’m guessing that’s why Olbermann can start there sooner than he could with a more established network.

  21. “Not sure how you’d categorize Current TV right now as anything other than crap.”

    I haven’t seen the network so I don’t know anything about the quality except they’ve won a couple of Emmies and a Peabody award. Their webpage isn’t very good so you may be right about the network and because you seem familiar with the programming terance; care to fill us in as to why you think it’s crap?

  22. You’ve seen 20 minutes, and don’t know what their current programming is. Care to explain how you know Current TV is crap?

    because you seem familiar with the programming terance; care to fill us in as to why you think it’s crap?

    What I meant was, Current TV’s “format” is crap.. Unless its changed. I remember some dude sitting Indian style on a couch introducing pods which were basically user submitted clips.

  23. Current’s other programming won’t matter. Nor will how many homes they reach. The show will load at a KO website immediately after air, and most of his followers will catch it there. This is just an excuse to say “I’m still on TV”. Uh..not really..

  24. As Chief News Officer, Keith will have editorial control and run the fledgling news division at Current Tv. I wonder who he’s going to recruit? I know that Sam Seder was his last substitute host at MSNBC. I could see him coming. Also, I could also see David Shuster go to CTV.

  25. Will Keith get a special captain’s hat as part of his impressive new title? There’s something odd about the made up “chief news officer” position, like giving a hollywood secretary an “associate producer” credit instead of a raise.

  26. @jwe, I don’t see how CNO is different from CEO, CFO, CTO, etc

  27. I’m the Executive Director at my job. I think I’ll change it to Chief Director Officer Sir. Yeahh.. Where’s my hat?

  28. — Where’s my hat? —

    I think I still have one left-over from Burger King.

  29. @joeremi, I think the title CNO shows that Keith Olbermann has editorial and executive control, while also reflecting his equity and ownership stake in the company. It’s pretty unique.

    The only other person I can think of a broadcaster having an ownership stake in a cable channel is Oprah Winfrey with the Oprah Winfrey Network.

  30. Was just “refreshing myself” about Current TV on their ultra reliable Wikipedia page! Seems they abandoned the “pods” in 2009.

    It will definitely be interesting if Current TV turns into a “real” cable news channel. I mean, love KO or hate him, he would have to know a thing or two about cable news, no?

    Also saw Comcast owns 10% of Currents’ parent company.

  31. Hey, Current is right next to the cable news channels on Dish TV. Let’s see what’s on. Oh my. Uh..Current TV needs KO more than KO needs Current TV..

  32. Joe ; I don’t think Oprah’s situation is the same as KO’s. She started her own network with her own money. KO is probably taking a stake instead of a high salary.

    BTW has anyone heard what happened to KO’s producers an staff at MSNBC?

  33. That’s from PTBL, Fritz. I don’t actually care what he calls himself, I just think it sounds kinda funny.

  34. @fritz, I’ve been wondering myself. Do you think the countdown staff will transfer to his new show? I wonder what spud thinks of all this. Can’t wait to hear from him.

  35. Sorry joe. Not paying enough attention I guess. 😉

  36. Maybe KO will offer Spud a job and he can become a superstar on television? Just think of all the groupies that’ll be lining up!

  37. ICN gets more traffic than Current. Believe it.

  38. Latest Indian News…

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