Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Olbermann Gets Current

Recently ousted MSNBC host Keith Olbermann announced on Tuesday that he will joining Current TV in the late spring. Olbermann will host and executive-produce a one-hour, five-night-a-week primetime show on the network.

He will also become Current's "chief news officer."

The move is quite a get for Current TV, a station co-founded and chaired by former Vice President Al Gore. Sadly, there's the issue of Current's reach; as of this writing, my cable provider (Cox) does not offer the station.

To find out if you have Current TV, visit the network's website.

The move comes on the heels of Monday's announced deal in which AOL purchased The Huffington Post for $315 million and named founder Arianna Huffington president and editor-in-chief of the newly-created Huffington Post Media Group -- in which she will take control of all of AOL's editorial content.

I'm not sure how I feel about the AOL-HuffPost merger, since the consolidation of the mainstream media today is actually a pretty big problem (right, Comcast-NBC Universal?), but I'm willing to give Huffington and her website the benefit of the doubt.

But Olbermann's move to Current TV could be huge -- not so much for Olbermann (who is still being paid the balance of his four-year, $30 million contract with MSNBC), but for Current. Olbermann has become one of the most reliable and trustworthy voices on the left -- not that being on the left got Olbermann this gig -- and it's nice to see that he'll be back.

Particulars will likely be worked out over the next month or so -- namely, whether or not Olbermann's new show will be available online, much like Countdown was. Given Current's limited reach as far as cable and satellite providers are concerned, that would probably be a great way to expand Olbermann's audience.

Particularly us Countdown fans who don't get Current TV. But who knows? Maybe the inclusion of Olbermann will give Current the interest level necessary to get other providers to pick up the network.

Olbermann will be the same as he always has been -- bombastic, witty, sarcastic, hard-hitting -- and he might just have the clout to bring Current to another level ... and make the 24-hour cable stations even more irrelevant than they've already become.

One can only hope.

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