Things got a little too warm when Al Gore took to the stage at the SXSW Interactive festival Saturday to talk about The Future — that is, his new book subtitled Six Drivers Of Global Change as well as the NRA, the internet and global warming, natch. AllThingsD editor Walt Mossberg took the opportunity to call the former VP on an inconvenient truth — not his movie, the hypocrisy of his sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera. “You sold your network to Al Jazeera, which is owned by a government that’s a big oil producer,” asked Mossberg. “How could you do that?” Gore eventually responded “I don’t ask you why you continue working for Rupert Murdoch.” Uh-oh. Mossberg parried, “Last I checked, he’s not in the oil business”. Gore retorted, “He’s also not strictly in the news business, either”.
John Short Joins Epic Pictures Group As VP Foreign Sales
John Short has been named VP international sales for Patrick Ewald and Shaked Berenson’s Epic Pictures Group. Ewald and Berenson will focus on focus on the company’s original productions, while Short will oversee day-to-day operations for foreign sales. Short is introducing Epic’s slate at the upcoming Filmart in Hong Kong March 18-21 and will attend the Cannes Market May 16-25. Epic’s Big Ass Spider! premieres March 11 at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Ewald and Berenson financed and produced the pic directed by Mike Mendez and starring Greg Grunberg.
Despite leaving Fox News last month, Sarah Palin is not joining Al Jazeera America as a talking head. She is, however ,certainly mocking a Washington Post report today incorrectly claiming she was. “Hey @washingtonpost, I’m having coffee with Elvis this week. He works at the Mocha Moose in Wasilla. #suziparkerscoops #idiotmedia,” the former GOP VP candidate wrote on Twitter today. Earlier in the day, the Post ran a seemingly unbelievable story by blogger Suzy Parker on its website saying Palin was heading to the new U.S. version of the Qatar-based network. Parker’s story cited a February 4 report on the Daily Currant as its source for Palin’s new gig. The story quoted the conservative former Alaska Governor as saying Al Jazeera “told me they reach millions of devoutly religious people who don’t watch CBS or CNN. That tells me they don’t have a liberal bias.” However, what the Post didn’t realize was the Currant is a news parody website and the original story was meant to be funny and not at all factual.
Here’s episode 17 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman. This week, Deadline Executive Editor Lieberman and host David Bloom discuss the impacts of an important tax provision for Hollywood passed as part of this week’s fiscal cliff bill; what happens with Al Jazeera’s purchase of Current TV, especially after Time-Warner Cable dropped the channel; and a look at some of the big trends at next week’s Consumer Electronics Show, which Lieberman will be covering and for which he’ll host a panel on streaming TV.
UPDATE, 4 PM: Current TV CEO Joel Hyatt just confirmed the sale in a memo to staffers. “Getting this transaction done was very difficult,” he writes. (Read the network’s official statement after the original break of the story.) Since Time Warner Cable would not consent to the sale “Current will no longer be carried on TWC. This is unfortunate, but I am confident that Al Jazeera America will earn significant additional carriage in the months and years ahead.” Time Warner Cable says that it is “removing the service as quickly as possible.” The loss of the No. 2 cable operator will hurt: Time Warner Cable has 12.2M video subscribers and Current reaches about 59M homes. Others also could follow Time Warner Cable’s lead as they look to prune their often bloated channel lineups. Al Jazeera has fought an uphill battle to win carriage on U.S. cable systems. Operators say it’s too expensive, and that there’s too little interest in the subjects it covers. Fans of the channel say it’s due to unreasonable fears that Al Jazeera’s content will be too controversial and possibly propagandistic. Al Jazeera fought back, and further infuriated cable execs, by live-streaming its English-language programming.