Al Gore sells Current TV to Al-Jazeera
The former VP and Current TV Chairman and co-founder has pocketed quote a profit in selling his cable channel Current TV to the Emir of Qatar-funded Arab news channel Al-Jazeera. Gore netted $100 million with his 20$ stake in the network when it was sold for $500 million, reports Fox News.
Of course, Al-Jazeera plans to nix the seven-year-old Current TV programming and turn it into Al-Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now. More than half of its content will be U.S. news, and the network will have its headquarters in New York, said the story.
But while Al-Jazeera will now be available in millions more American homes, it will not be seen on Time Warner Cable, as they dropped Current TV immediately after the sale became final (they’ve been dropping nets as of late that don’t perform in ratings, anyway).
“Our agreement with Current has been terminated and we will no longer be carrying the service. We are removing the service as quickly as possible,” the company said in a statement.
Time Warner Cable’s move is a sign that Al-Jazeera will have an uphill climb to shed its reputation as a purveyor of Arab propaganda, but the acquisition of Current TV instantly boosts its reach in the U.S. nearly ninefold, to about 40 million homes.
Al-Jazeera has been criticized for having a pro-Islamist bent, and accused of working with members of Al Qaeda. One of its journalists was arrested in Israel in 2011 on suspicion of being an agent of the Palestinian group Hamas. Dave Marash, a former “Nightline” reporter who worked for Al-Jazeera in Washington, said he left the network in 2008 in part because he sensed an anti-American bias there.
Gore sees a bright future for Al-Jazeera America where his Current TV failed, saying both networks were founded “to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling.”
RBR-TVBR observation: It will certainly be watched in larger markets with a greater population of Mid-Eastern decent. Because of its imaging as a serious news network, average Americans may well tune in to get a different take on the headlines. Bottom line, if it ends up being a serious, informative and engaging news network, it will get ratings—at least better than Current TV.