Former primetime MSNBC host Keith Olbermann announced Tuesday that he will join former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore’s Current TV network. Olbermann will be the “chief news officer” at Current Media, and will attempt to provide “authentic, thought-provoking” programming. He’ll have his own television show in primetime starting later this spring. No details regarding the timeslot, surrounding lineup, name or format for the program have been released.
Olbermann said he’s intrigued to join what he considers the “model truth-seeking entity.”
“The opportunity to partner with Al [Gore] and Joel [Hyatt] and [Current CEO] Mark Rosenthal truly makes this the most exciting venture in my career, which, as you know, has had a lot of exciting ventures, some of them intentional and some of them not so intentional,” Olbermann said in a conference call with reporters on Tuesday.
As for his influence over news content, Gore said he keeps his distance because he’s a “recovering politician.” Olbermann wouldn’t address Gore’s ties to the Democratic Party as a potential source for news interference.
”I consider myself a recovering politician,” Gore said. “You won’t see any interference of a political nature.”
Gore also said Olbermann and all other news personalities and journalists at Current Media are allowed to make political donations to any candidates and parties they deem worthy. Gore justified news personalities’ political donations as a form of free speech, adding that all he requires is full disclosure. MSNBC suspended Olbermann for making political donations last election cycle — his “indefinite suspension” lasted only two shows.
Gore said he hopes Olbermann will jump start Current like he did with ESPN and with MSNBC, claiming that Current is currently available in more American households now than MSNBC was when Olbermann started “Countdown.” Gore said Current TV is, at this point, available to 60 million American homes.
Olbermann will have executive influence over several different programs at Current TV and throughout Current’s other media ventures.