Keith Olbermann, the former top-rated host on the news channel MSNBC, will announce his next television home on Tuesday, and people on Monday familiar with his plans pointed to a deal with the public affairs channel Current TV.
Mr. Olbermann, his representatives and executives from Current TV declined to comment on the move, but they did not deny that the channel, which counts former Vice President Al Gore as one of its founders, will become at least one partner in Mr. Olbermann’s future media plans.
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.”I like Current TV and do watch it, but it’s not a channel that all people have access to. Olbermann has a phone conference set up this morning with the media shortly. More info when it becomes available.
UPDATE: KO will serve as Current's Chief News Officer and have a one hour show sometime late this spring according to his phone conference. His website is already up at Current and can be viewed here. From their Press Release:
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 live weeknights in primetime beginning later in 2011.
"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," said Olbermann. "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."
“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,” said Al Gore, Chairman and co-founder of Current. “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.”Alrighty then!!!