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Posts Tagged ‘Joel Hyatt’

Morning Media Newsfeed: AJA Countersues Gore | Time Inc. Guild Talks Break Down

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Al Jazeera America Countersuing Al Gore (TVNewser)
It looks like Al Jazeera America isn’t taking the lawsuit levied by former Vice President Al Gore lying down. The company countersued Gore and Joel Hyatt Friday. The Associated Press The parties are fighting over money that is being held in escrow. The former vice president and Hyatt, the founder of Hyatt Legal Services, sued the network last month saying that it was improperly withholding tens of millions of dollars placed in escrow when Al Jazeera bought Current TV for $500 million. THR / Hollywood, Esq. According to Gore and Hyatt, Al Jazeera squandered those favorable distribution rights by making an “ill-advised, one-sided” agreement with Time Warner Cable, which set off “most favored nation” obligations to other distributors. According to Al Jazeera, it’s Gore and Hyatt who shoulder the blame — and responsibility — for what later happened by failing to get TWC on board in the first place. New York Post Friday’s countersuit insists that AJA, as Current TV’s buyer, did not “make phony claims” but had a “contractual right to be indemnified.” “Al Jazeera America rightfully seeks compensation from an escrow fund that was established solely and specifically to protect Al Jazeera against any harm resulting from these inaccurate representations,” the countersuit claimed. In the countersuit, Al Jazeera stated it made five claims on the escrow money, relating mostly to disagreements it had with distributors following the sale. Variety The purchase price was reportedly $500 million, and, although that figure also was redacted from Al Jazeera’s filing, the company noted that Gore is “reported to have made between $70 and $100 million from the sale.” Gore and Hyatt contend that they initially harbored “serious reservations” about selling the network to Al Jazeera, but decided to entertain the idea of such a sale after performing due diligence and consulting with former senior U.S. government officials.

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Report: Al Jazeera Finalizing Deal to Acquire Current TV

A few months ago, Michael Wolff wondered in the pages of USA TODAY - “Who Will Buy Al Gore’s Current TV?” He concluded that an Internet behemoth like The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed or even College Humor might make sense.

But according to a report this afternoon by New York Times media columnist Brian Stelter, the most interested party has turned out to be from far beyond our country’s borders, Web or otherwise:

Rather than simply use Current to distribute its English-language channel, called Al Jazeera English and based in Doha, Qatar, Al Jazeera will create a new channel based in New York, according to people with knowledge of the deal negotiations. The channel may be called Al Jazeera America. Roughly 60 percent of the programming will be produced in the United States, while the remaining 40 percent will come from Al Jazeera English.

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Eliot Spitzer on CNN’s Identity Crisis: ‘There’s No Objectivity in Network News’

1003_mockup.gifIt was the usual Wednesday mix of moguls (Jon Tisch), media men (Richard Beckman, Mike Perlis) and television honchos (Henry Schleiff) today at Michael’s. With this Type A crowd, summer vacations are for slackers — at least until August. From the looks of things, there were plenty of deals being done (or at least pitched) between bites.

I was joined today by Eliot Spitzer and Lisa Linden. The last time the three of us had lunch, New York’s former governor was headlining his own show on CNN, In The Arena, which replaced the short-lived Parker Spitzer which he launched with co-host Kathleen Parker in 2010. About a year ago, CNN boss Ken Jautz cancelled In The Arena in a shakeup of the network’s primetime lineup. “I’m very happy with the show we did and the ratings we got, which were good to compared to what they’re getting now,” Eliot told me.  Not surprisingly, he says he prefers and is better suited for Current TV’s politically charged environment. “Current has an ideology. There’s no pretense; we’re open about it. CNN tries very hard to position itself as an non-ideological news network, but there’s no objectivity in network news. It would be better for all of us if we just accepted that.” Therein lies the major issue with his former employer’s rating woes, says Eliot: ”CNN has a serious question of what it is and they’ve got to answer that.”

Having stepped in seemingly hours after Keith Olbermann was booted from Current TV, Eliot took to the airwaves with the aptly titled Viewpoint in Olbermann’s old time slot with no promotional campaign or PR machine to attract viewers (although Olbermann’s own campaign to get his side of the story out gave the fledgling network plenty of attention). But the show does have co-founder Al Gore‘s support (he’s been a guest on Viewpoint) and Eliot says Joel Hyatt is very involved in the “day-to-day” running of the network. “They have been great. I’ve known Al since 1999 and I like him very much. He’s a great guy.” (BTW you can see what Joel had to say about all those supposed dust-ups with Olbermann in this Mediabistro interview.)

Eliot Spitzer and Diane Clehane
Eliot Spitzer and Diane Clehane

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Gavin Newsom Gets a Current TV Show

Here is a move that could offer tangible dividends for Al Gore and Joel Hyatt’s fledgling cable TV channel. Starting next month, former San Francisco mayor and current California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will be hitting the Current TV airwaves as host of a weekly talk program, The Gavin Newsom Show.

That’s Newsom, above, recently appearing on another new Current TV show, The War Room with Jennifer Granholm. FishbowlLA likes the look and sound of this guy as a TV host for a by-the-Bay based outlet.

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Keith Olbermann Is Out at Current TV

Current TV publicly parted ways with its cantankerous star Keith Olbermann today. Current founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt broke the news in an open letter on Current’s blog.

We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet.  We are more committed to those goals today than ever before.

Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.

We are moving ahead by honoring Current’s values. Current has a fundamental obligation to deliver news programming with a progressive perspective that our viewers can count on being available daily — especially now, during the presidential election campaign. Current exists because our audience desires the kind of perspective, insight and commentary that is not easily found elsewhere in this time of big media consolidation.

Olbermann has yet to respond to the news. He did, however, promise a Twitter statement in the near future.

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The Young Turks Headed to Current TV

You could sort of see this one coming.

In an interview with AP TV writer Frazier Moore, Current TV chairman Al Gore revealed that LA based Internet smash The Young Turks has pacted with the San Francisco network to hit the airwaves by year’s end as Keith Olbermann‘s lead-in. It’s a perfect place for hosts Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian to expand their already impressive Internet reach, following the former’s brief and controversial expanded role with MSNBC:

Gore called himself “a big fan” of Uygur’s MSNBC show, saying, “He demonstrated that his phenomenal success on the Web translates easily and well into the television format.”

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Current TV Founders Comment On Euna & Laura’s Release

current.pngYesterday, after the announcement that North Korea was going to release imprisoned journalists Euna Lee and Laura Ling, their bosses at Current TV posted a comment about the whole mess.

“All of us at Current are overjoyed at Laura and Euna’s safe return,” Current Media founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt said in the statement. “Our hearts go out to them — and to their families — for persevering through this horrible experience. We will have more to say in the days and weeks ahead. But for now, all our thoughts are with Laura and Euna and their families, who have shown remarkable courage and initiative for the 140 days of this ordeal.”

According to the statement, Lee and Ling will be returning home this morning. You can visit the site to send them a message or view some of their work.

Current TV has been quiet about its detained reporters since their arrest in March, so we’re looking forward to what the company will have to say “in the days and weeks ahead.”

Meanwhile, today more information came out regarding Clinton’s trip to North Korea, how it came about and what he talked about with the nation’s Supreme Leader.

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