So here’s the main takeaway.
Keith Olbermann will be launching a hour-long show on Current TV — the television network that up until now has been mostly associated with co-founder Al Gore. As part of the deal he is also getting equity in the company, though he declined to say how much.
He described his new show as “an improved, and we hope amplified and stronger, version of the show that I just did.”
What Current is getting is a huge name, who boasts a rather devoted following, and along with that hopefully some relevance in the ever-lucrative cable game.
Clearly this shot at relevance and presumably profit, is enough to assuage any worries Current might have about working with Olbermann, who, with his unceremonious departure from MSNBC has essentially solidified his reputation of being difficult to work with.
But they are also expecting Obly to do a lot. His official title is Chief News Officer and he will apparently be coming up with both show ideas and new talent. Short version: Olby is the new face of Current and it sounds like he will be able to do as he pleases with much of the network. Much as he did with MSNBC, and presumably hopefully with the same results.
Olby for his part refrained from taking shots at MSNBC and/or Comcast. Al Gore, however, did note in pointed tones that “we are delighted to provide Keith with the independent platform and freedom that Current can and does uniquely offer.” Emphasis on independent.
Full liveblog (until I lost the call 45 minutes or so in) is below.
We are liveblogging Keith Olbermann‘s conference call where he discusses his future plans.
Oh wait, Olby has already pre-empted his own breaking news conference call.
And now, while I am still on hold, Olby’s PR team just sent out this release, raising the question, why I am holding for this call. [Release below].
OK Olby!: “I am pleased to announce I’m returning to. Current is a model truth-seeking entity. Truly the most exciting venture in my career…and there has been lots of excitement, some intentional, some not.”
Al Gore: Olby will have a Primetime show airing every weeknight beginning later this spring. Keith is one of those “unfettered” voices. We are delighted to provide Keith with the INDEPENDENT platform.
And Keith has a new website: http://current.com/keith-olbermann/
Olby’s show will be for “viewers who want an alternative to scripted non-reality in other news programs.”
Keith returns to call and tells listeners they are about to get their 1-800 number’s worth. Question time!
Olby: There is nothing wrong with corportaions being involved and covering news as long as market forces are not deciding factor in what people are doing.
On HuffPo/Aol: This isn’t there news conf. Arianna is an insightful and progressive voice. Hope to have her as contributing guest. Business ramifications of their deal is something I can give thoughts on later, but more interested in business dealing at Current right now. (Keith is in a good mood).
Olbermann on move and Comcast influence: To continue to evolve and do a better job required an opportunity to work in a much more pristine environment. Not to criticise what’s being done elsewhere. This is an organisation that is both prosperous and influential with asa much as a focus toward editorial content and spreading beauty and light….goal to do a better version of what I’ve done previously. If you don’t keep moving your newscast falls off. More in the sense of what would be coming in the years ahead. Did I want to stay stationary or go out to a diff one with diff set of priorities.
Al Gore: Current has more viewers now than MSNBC had when Olby joined them.
Olby clarifies the worldwide numbers are slightly lower, but Current in 60 million homes.
Stelter: What does chief news officer mean?
It means they are going to depend on Keith’s experience and wisdom for all news and current events programming. hope he will be very involved in topic selection and conceiving other show ideas.
Olby: Plus I get a hat!
Stelter: How can you afford this?
Current: How could we not!
Al Gore: Let me add we have remained profitable. Quite profitable!
Keith doesn’t want to Mark McGuire anyone or talk about MSNBC.
Olbermann: We are all here as a result of events that happened on Jan 22.
Olbermann is getting equity in Current as part of the deal.
Is Olby advertising-friendly? ‘Many of my best friends are advertisers!” ROOM LAUGHS
Al Gore: Olby can make donations to anyone he likes! But they also believe in full disclosure.
Olby says Aaron Sorkins new show, if he were to contribute to something like that, would be a hobby.
Says he Worst Person in the World segment was sometimes taken too seriously by recipients. And while there may be something similar, it won’t be called that.
Oof disconnected! AT&T hates Keith Olbermann!
Gore: “I consider myself a recovering politician and you won’t see any interference.”
KEITH OLBERMANN TO HOST MAJOR NEW NIGHTLY PRIMETIME NEWS AND COMMENTARY SHOW ON CURRENT TV
ICONOCLASTIC BROADCASTER JOINS CURRENT MEDIA CO-FOUNDERS
AL GORE AND JOEL HYATT, WILL ALSO SERVE AS COMPANY’S CHIEF NEWS OFFICER
NEW YORK – February 8, 2011 – 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 toCurrent 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.
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.”
“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,” said Joel Hyatt, Executive Vice Chairman and co-founder of Current. “Keith Olbermann is not afraid of dissenters. In his long and impressive career, he has developed a massive following of intelligent, informed people who enjoy a good debate and smart conversation. We welcome Keith and we also look forward to welcoming his fans as new Current TV viewers.”
Keith Olbermann’s show will lead a programming slate on Current that includes original and acquired TV series aimed at an influential adult audience. Current features compelling stories about everyday heroes and ordinary people in extraordinary situations, and takes you to sometimes dangerous and always intriguing places. Current shines a light on controversial subjects, tackling hot issues of the day in a thoughtful and sometimes humorous way. Current engages its viewers by sparking debate and discussion, and via interactive formats that allow viewers to inform its stories.
“We’re very excited to welcome Keith Olbermann to Current,” said Mark Rosenthal, CEO, Current Media. “Current is aimed at viewers who seek authentic, thought-provoking and meaningful television and an alternative to the ‘scripted reality’ or hard news found on other non-fiction networks. Keith is one of our great provocateurs. His style and voice are perfectly aligned with the programming we’ve developed to deliver on what those viewers demand.”
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