Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Will Olbermann Air 'Worst Reception in the World' Segment on New Show?

Cropped headshot of Keith OlbermannImage via WikipediaWhen Keith Olbermann last month departed Countdown with Keith Olbermann after numerous run-ins with MSNBC and took his bawl and went home, avid followers detected a disturbance in the Force as there no longer was a progressive bloviater to offset Fox's cadre of conservative criers. 

Fret no more.  Olbermann, who rants, excoriates and eviscerates, also tweets. He scooped The New York Times and other media outlets by announcing on Twitter that he has joined Current TV. The 52-year-old former Fox, ESPN and MSNBC employee now has an equity interest at Current TV, where he will serve as chief news officer and will executive produce a one-hour news and commentary program.

Current TV was co-founded in 2005 by former Vice-President Al Gore and Joel Hyatt. It reaches into roughly 75 million homes worldwide, though generally in  the digital tier of cable tv systems. Olbermann, who attracted approximately a million viewers nightly on Countdown, has his work cut out for him as Current TV's average Prime Time audience is closer to 23,000, according to The New York Times. Repeats of  "This American Life" are among its nightly fare.

Olbermann will not return to the airwaves until the spring. When he broke ties with MSNBC, he reportedly pocked $7 million in severance pay, but inked a non-compete that keeps him off competing networks, such as CNN and FOX,  for a period of time that has not been made public. The non-compete pact may not include Current TV, which is independently owned by Gore and others, and not part of a media conglomerate.

"We are delighted to provide Keith with the independent platform and freedom that Current can and does uniquely offer," Gore is reported as saying. Freedom, as Janis Joplin was wont to remind us, is just another word for nothing left to lose.

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