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Current TV

Keith Olbermann: Current TV Co-Founder And Former VP Al Gore Was a ‘Clod’

Soon-to-be ESPN2 host Keith Olbermann is the subject of a lengthy profile by THR’s Marisa Guthrie. Olbermann talks about how he came to join ESPN, repairing the bridges he “napalmed” the last time he was there, and also his rather tumultuous end at Current TV.

Guthrie also reveals that ESPN was talking to NBC’s Seth Meyers about hosting a late-night show, until he inked the “Late Night” gig at NBC, and that Olbermann met with ABC News president Ben Sherwood as his time at Current neared a close.

Then there are his comments on his former boss, Vice President Al Gore. THR teases it right at the top of the story, “there is name-calling.”

“When you’re working for somebody whom you admired politically, who turns out to be a clod,” says Olbermann, referring to Gore, “the scales fall from your eyes. Sorry. Al underdelivered. I mean that’s just simply the case. I don’t want to dwell on it, but it’s true.”

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Former CNN, Current TV Host Eliot Spitzer Re-Enters Politics

Eliot Spitzer, the disgraced former New York governor-turned cable news talk show host, is getting back in to politics. Spitzer will run for New York City Comptroller, essentially the CFO and chief auditing officer for the city.

Spitzer resigned as New York Governor five years ago amid a prostitution scandal. In 2010 he began appearing, and in some cases filling in as a host, on MSNBC. In the Fall of 2010, Spitzer joined CNN hosting a show called “Parker/Spitzer.” When Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker departed, it was renamed “In the Arena,” with Spitzer as solo host. That show was canceled two years ago this month. When Keith Olbermann abruptly left Current TV in March of 2012, Spitzer slid into that timeslot. But that lasted less than a year, as Spitzer ended the show when the network was sold to Al Jazeera in January.

On “CBS This Morning,” Spitzer said, “I sinned, I owned up to it, I looked them in the eye, I resigned, I held myself accountable. I think that was the only right thing to do. There’s a record there that I hope they will look to and say, ‘yes, the comptroller’s position is one that fits his skill set and we hope that we can bring him back for public service.’”

Spitzer has until Thursday to gather 3,750 signatures to get on the ballot for a primary which will be held in September.

Keith Olbermann Lawsuit Advances, Gore Keeps Deflecting Current Criticism

The Keith Olbermann-Current TV dustup continues to move forward. Olbermann gave testimony earlier this month about his deal with Current, and why he believed the channel was in breach of contract. Deadline has the (heavily redacted) filings, but there are still some things we can glean.

Olbermann argues that Current disparaged him to his staff and the press, and revealed confidential contract information. He also claims that his likeness was used in an ad for AT&T without his approval, and that he was not given control of the politics specials. He also blames Current for not letting “Countdown” stream online (though carriage agreements with cable operators prevented it) and for not seeking permission when naming guest-hosts for the program.

Meanwhile, at SXSW, a digital conference in Austin, Texas, Current founder Al Gore was interviewed by AllThingsD’s Walt Mossberg about the Current TV/Al Jazeera deal. Things got testy:
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Al Gore Sued Over Current TV Sale

Former Vice President and Current TV co-founder Al Gore is being sued over the recent sale of the company to Al Jazeera. The most explosive allegation is that Gore was reluctant to sell the company to the media company financed by the oil-rich nation of Qatar, but that he was persuaded.

It was filed by a media consultant who claimed that he came up with the idea for Al Jazeera to acquire Current, but was cut out of the final deal.

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Eriq Gardner has the details:

What happened next likely will generate much conversation given that Gore has made the media rounds defending the sale. According to the lawsuit, “Plaintiffs are informed and believe that Gore was adamant in his rejection of the proposal to sell his liberal, environmentally friendly network to the oil-rich Quataris who owned Al Jazeera. Apparently, Gore had a change of heart.”

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Jon Stewart’s Aggressive Interview With Al Gore

Al Gore continues making the rounds for his new book. But what most interviewers want to know about is the sale of Current TV which, as a co-owner, he orchestrated. Earlier this week on NBC’s “Today,” Matt Lauer pressed Gore about the sale to Al Jazeera which is owned by the royal family of Qatar, whose wealth is derived from oil.

Gore mostly dodged the questions on “Today,” but on “The Daily Show” last night, Jon Stewart kept on him, getting Gore to reveal that the new Al Jazeera network will keep some programming from Current, and will be commercial-free.

Update: Current emails us top let us know that the new channel will not be commercial-free, so Gore was misinformed.

It starts to heat up around six minutes in:

Al Gore To Make TV Rounds To Promote Book That Trashes TV News

Former Vice President Al Gore, who sold Current TV to Al Jazeera a few weeks back, is about to make a round of TV appearances. The appearances are ostensibly tied to the release of his new book The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change, but viewers should expect the Current TV sale to play a big part in the conversations.

Gore is currently slated to appear on NBC’s “Today” and CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman“ on Tuesday, and “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart Wednesday.

The appearances are particularly interesting, as Gore trashes television news in the book, as noted by New York Times book reviewer Michiko Kakutani.

He also complains that “virtually every news and political commentary program on television is sponsored in part by oil, coal and gas companies — not just during campaign seasons, but all the time, year in and year out — with messages designed to sooth and reassure the audience that everything is fine, the global environment is not threatened, and the carbon companies are working diligently to further develop renewable energy sources.”

Such remarks serve to remind the reader of a business deal Mr. Gore recently made that has ignited charges of hypocrisy and greed: selling Current TV (a channel he helped to found in 2005) for an estimated $500 million to Al Jazeera, the influential Arab news giant, which is financed by the government of oil- and gas-rich Qatar. Mr. Gore, who will reportedly make about $100 million from the deal, describes Al Jazeera in this book as “feisty and relatively independent.”

(h/t Brian Stelter on the Times review)

Inauguration 2013: Current TV Coverage Plans

The lights may be dimming on Current TV, but the network is still planning special coverage of Barack Obama‘s second inauguration. Former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, who has said she’ll “be going back to teaching, speaking and other things” when her show “War Room” leaves the air, will host Current’s coverage along with John Fugelsang from the center of the inauguration action, in New York City. David Shuster will be on the ground in Washington, however. Coverage begins at 10amET Monday.

Al Jazeera acquired the network earlier this month and plans to launch Al Jazeera America in place of Current TV.

More details after the jump…

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Geraldo Rivera’s Al Gore Story

On “The O’Reilly Factor” last night, Geraldo Rivera spoke to Bill O’Reilly about the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera, and shared a story about running into Al Gore.

The year was 2006, and Gore and comedian Al Franken (who is new Senator Franken) were in the lobby of the News Corp, building in New York. Rivera knew Gore, and had interviewed him in his prior jobs.

“I run into the vice president with Al Franken by his side, and he looks me up and down and said, ‘look where you ended up.’ As if to say to me, my goodness how could you possibly sell out to go work here for Fox News,” Rivera recalled. “And I said I am still the same guy, and the Vice President says to me in a very tsk tsk condescending way, ‘I guess you will never bite the hands that feeds you.’”

WATCH:


Eliot Spitzer Ending Current TV Show

Current TV and its lineup of hosts continue to tinker in advance of Al Jazeera’s takeover in a few months. While we noted that many of the network’s hosts aren’t entirely sure what the future holds for them, Eliot Spitzer has: he is leaving.

Brian Stelter in the NY Times has more:

Mr. Spitzer said he had a “wonderful time” at Current, but emphasized that his relationship was with Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, Current’s co-founders, not with Al Jazeera. “Moving forward, their mission will be different,” he said — more international newscasts, less liberal talk about the news…

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After Al Jazeera Acquisition, The Future of Current TV Hosts Up In The Air

With Al Jazeera’s purchase of Current TV complete, speculation has turned to what it means for Current’s lineup of hosts.

So far, only one on-air personality has announced their plans. Jennifer Granholm, who hosts “The War Room.” will continue on for a little while more before leaving the network in the Spring.

“We’ll continue to broadcast The War Room for the next few weeks through the transition, but after that I’ll be going back to teaching, speaking and other things,” Granholm wrote on Facebook.

In a video on The Young Turks YouTube channel, Cenk Uygur says that he hopes to continue hosting the TV program of the same name on the new Al Jazeera network, but that it isn’t clear whether the new owners will want to keep the show.

“It is an interesting question, and one which I do not have the answers to,” Uygur said. Regardless of what happens, he says The Young Turks will always be on their original YouTube channel.

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