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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Keith Olbermann Will Put Al Gore's Current TV On The Map

Paresh Dave |
February 8, 2011 | 9:34 a.m. PST

Executive Producer

Keith Olbermann returns to televsion later this year, hosting a show on Current TV similar to the one he was forced to abandon at MSNBC when his contract was not renewed last month.

The left-leaning political commentator was suspended last year was violating an NBC policy prohibiting undisclosed contributions to political campaigns. Shortly after a merger between Comcast and NBC Universal was completed, NBC announced Olbermann would be dropped from its payroll. MSNBC was forced to switch around its lineup, promoting Lawrence O'Donnell's "The Last Word" into the slot formerly held by Olbermann's "Countdown."

Comcast own's a 10 percent stake in Current TV's parent company. The five-and-half-year-old Current TV was founded by former vice president Al Gore and former attorney Joel Hyatt.

O'Donnell's ratings took a slight hit in the second week of sitting in a new time slot, and the loss of Olbermann's show has taken a significant punch out of MSNBC's lineup.

For Current TV, which is available on far fewer televisions, Olbermann could attract a million loyal followers with him. Posting his shows online could also be a big boost for Current TV's online traffic. While they have some funny and engaging content, the network has failed to make headways in the national media cycle without a big-ticket item.

The channel is available on DISH Network, DirecTV and AT&T U-Verse. In Los Angeles, it's also available for an extra cost on Time Warner Cable.

Current TV reaches 60 million American homes, but MSNBC only reached 58 million homes when Olbermann first joined the network, notes Forbes' Jeff Bercovici. By the end of Olbermann's eight-year stint at MSNBC, it was in 85 million homes.

Olbermann, who will become Current's TV "Chief News Officer," is the next major left-leaning journalist to take over a news operation this week. Arianna Huffington was tabbed late Sunday to lead AOL's news operation.

Reach executive producer Paresh Dave here. Follow him on Twitter: @peard33.

A recent clip from Current TV that I happened to come across and watch during Super Bowl weekend:



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

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