Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
The liberal cable stronghold Current TV hosted a breakfast this morning at TCA complete with its very own on-site radio show. The syndicated Stephanie Miller Show was broadcast in the background and simulcast live on Current, as it is every weekday. In fact, the network has ramped up its homegrown live programming significantly since the beginning of the year after losing its signature primetime show hosted by Keith Olbermann (who departed at the end of March in an acrimonious huff, followed in April by the inevitable multi-pronged lawsuit over his termination). The Olbermann situation “is going to be in litigation for the rest of my life,” said Current president David Bohrman with only a trace of exaggeration. But he was wistful about the lingering impact that Olbermann had on the network. “It’s unfortunate (how things ended),” he said, “but Keith was transformative in that when we put his program on, it really showed (Current partners) Joel (Hyatt) and Al (Gore) what we should be doing. And to that end, it was critical. It helped set us on the right path”.
That path now finds Current TV in some 60 million homes after having launched in 2005 as it continues to ramp up its roster of originals. In the past few months, it’s picked up simulcasts of radio shows hosted by Miller and Bill Press as well as a series with sitting California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom. In September, it adds The Joy Behar Show hosted by the longtime panelist on ABC’s The View. And this morning Current announced that it’s developing a primetime show with comedian and commentator John Fugelsang. Bohrman noted this morning that when he arrived to run the network nearly a year ago, Olbermann’s show was the only live original series the network was producing. Now, with the addition of Fugelsang, Current will soon have 11 hours of live programming each weekday. Bohrman was asked his opinion of The Newsroom, the Aaron Sorkin-written and produced HBO show that looks and sounds like something that might be on Current. He compared the show to what he did in producing Newsnight with Aaron Brown at CNN. “I know the show has gotten a lot of criticism,” Bohrman noted, “but I like the sense it has of whether they’re being accurate or not on the inside stuff.” Why not enlist Sorkin to do a show at Current? Bohrman: “He hasn’t asked.”