Keith Olbermann has done time at ESPN, MSNBC, CNN and other media outlets. Now, he seems prepared to add a new employer to his resume.
Last night, Olbermann sent out a tantalizing tweet promising big news. But he may have been scooped: The New York Times says Olbermann is likely headed to Al Gore's Current TV. Olbermann, a source tells the Times, will have an equity stake in the channel.
Olbermann watchers have been eager to learn his career plans since he abruptly left MSNBC early this year.
Olbermann is a household name (at least, if you have a cable-news-watching, newspaper-reading, Twitter-friendly household). Current TV, on the other hand, is not terribly well known, though it's available in an estimated 60 million cable subscribers' homes.
So if you're not too familiar with Current TV, let us fill you in.
It was founded by Gore in 2005 but has struggled. Initially, programming was built around "pods" -- short shows, eight minutes or less -- many of which were submitted by viewers via Current TV's website.
"But it was almost immediately apparent internally that Current's programing strategy was not sustainable; the video was low in volume and, often enough, quality," Reuters writer Andrew Wallenstein said in a 2010 article.
In 2007, according to Wallenstein, Gore and his business partner Joel Hyatt tried to shop Current TV to potential buyers, including Google, but were unable to find anyone willing to pay the $500 million price tag. An initial public offering failed to materialize, too, something that the channel blamed on the market conditions.
So in 2009, there was a shake-up: Hyatt, who had been CEO, became a vice president, while Mark Rosenthal, a Current TV board member and a former COO of MTV Networks, replaced him at the helm.
Rosenthal has cut down on the bloated staff and nixed the "pods" -- an idea that worked much better for YouTube than for a TV channel. Big programming changes are expected this year, with more documentaries and more traditional shows. For instance, the channel has been airing repeats of "This American Life."
When Lee and Ling came off the plane, their boss Al Gore was there to greet them.
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