Time Warner Cable made it official this morning: Al Jazeera America, the Qatar-owned news channel that launched in the U.S. on August 20, will be added to its lineup beginning — today. That bring to nearly 55 million the …
Less than two weeks before its scheduled launch, and days after bailing on a scheduled appearance before a couple hundred journalists to take questions at Summer TV Press Tour 2013, Al Jazeera America announced Kathy Davidov had joined the…
One week after ESPN announced it had signed Keith Olbermann to host a weekday late-night show on ESPN2, the guy who’d been savaging the place since it showed him the door nearly two decades back came to the Summer TCA Press Tour and said the reunion was practically inevitable and it had been a great place to work. “The reality is that whatever I have thought of ESPN when I worked there — and I thought I had a pretty good perspective about the place — I didn’t know what I was talking about,” he told TV critics and reporters in the room. “The places I went afterwards made ESPN look like a Let’s Applaud Keith session for five years.” Back in 2007 — a decade after he left ESPN — he told Dave Letterman, “ I don’t burn bridges, I burn rivers. You burn a bridge, you can possibly build a new bridge. When there’s no river anymore, that’s a lot of trouble.” On Wednesday, however, he said if you burn a bridge, “take the tunnel.”
One of those Worse Than ESPN places at which he labored — Current TV — was so bad, comparing ESPN to it was like comparing “color TV to radio.”
He had a million of ‘em. The critics lapped it up.
Al Jazeera America today announced its first four news anchors, including Richelle Carey, former weekday anchor for CNN’s HLN. Carey will join Jonathan Betz, Morgan Fogarty and Del Walters presenting live news throughout the day from Al Jazeera America’s studio in New York City. Betz is a former field…
Al Jazeera America confirmed this morning it had signed a deal with former CNN star Soledad O’Brien to contribute to the network as “special correspondent.” O’Brien’s production company, Starfish Media Group will produce hourlong documentary specials for the cable network. “I look forward to beginning a relationship with Al Jazeera America, which has made a commitment to producing quality programming and pursuing underreported stories,” O’Brien said in the announcement, confirming speculation that started last week. As a correspondent, O’Brien will contribute short-form segments to the primetime current affairs mag America Tonight on the new network, which is funded by the government of Qatar.
O’Brien stepped down from CNN in March when network chief Jeff Zucker scrubbed her program Starting Point; he gave the time slot to Chris Cuomo’s New Day. At the time she left CNN, she formed Starfish Media, which, in addition to the production deal with Al Jazeera America, now also has a production deal with CNN, and development deals at HBO and National Geographic Channel.
UPDATE, 4:54PM: A day after a deal was reach in Keith Olbermann’s $50 million lawsuit against Current TV, the former TV host and his former employer have issued a short joint statement officially confirming the settlement:
“The parties are pleased to announce that a settlement has occurred, and that the terms are confidential. Nothing more will be disclosed regarding the settlement.”
PREVIOUSLY, TUESDAY PM: Looks like Bay Area mediation worked where LA litigation could not for Keith Olbermann in his $50 million lawsuit against Current TV. A daylong session in San Francisco at the offices of Antonio Piazza of Mediation Negotiations has led to a settlement between the parties. While specifics of the agreement are confidential, a source tells Deadline that Olbermann is set to receive a significant payout from Current. The former ESPN and MSNBC anchor’s deal also means it won’t impact the Al Gore co-founded Current’s recent $500 million sale to Al Jazeera. Late last week, in heavily redacted court documents filed under seal in LA Superior Court, the former Countdown frontman requested an April 24 hearing for a summary judgment to rule in his favor over Current.
Olbermann sued his former employer for breach of contact and other claims on April 5, 2012 for the full multimillion-dollar sum of his five-year contract, this after Current fired Olbermann that March after less than a year at the network. On April 6, Current filed a cross complaint claiming it had “every right to terminate Mr. Olbermann’s services.” Both parties are expected to file documents relatively soon to dismiss the case.
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 ongoing sideshow that is Keith Olbermann and his employment woes just continues. Within days before a high level mediation meeting in San Francisco, the one-time TV host is now seeking a summary judgment in his $50 million lawsuit against Current TV (now being sold to Al Jazeera). In heavily redacted court documents (read them here) filed under seal in LA Superior Court on Thursday the former Countdown frontman wants an April 24 hearing to rule in his favor over his former employers. The documents filed this week are Olbermann’s evidence why the court should rule for him. While most of the document is blanked out, the introduction to the 25-page filing gives a pretty good sense of where the former talking head is coming from:
Current breached 16(a)(i) of the Agreement by making disparaging and derogatory statements in the public and to its staff about Mr. Olbermann and by disclosing confidential terms of the parties’ Agreement to the press. Current breached 2(a)(ii) of the Agreement by using Mr. Olbermann’s likeness in connection with advertising the Program properties, all without his prior approval. Current breached 5(c) by using Olbermann’s name, without his approval, in connection with a commercial for AT&T. Current breached 2(a) and 2(b)(ii) by denying Mr. Olbermann editorial control over “Program Specials” broadcast on Current, and breached 2(a)(i) by refusing Mr. Olbermann editorial control of the website when it denied his request to stream segments of Countdown over the Website. Current breached 13(d) of the agreement by improperly terminating Mr. Olbermann’s employment.
Olbermann and his lawyers are scheduled to meet with Current TV executives on March 12 at the offices of Antonio Piazza of Mediation Negotiations in San Francisco. Former Vice-President and Current co-founder Al Gore and Current president David Bohrman are expected to attend.
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.
Current TV is considering putting itself up for sale after potential buyers approached, company CEO Joel Hyatt said in an e-mail today. “This year alone, we have had three inquiries. As a consequence, we thought it might be useful to …
It doesn’t look like Dish Network is using Charlie Rose, C-SPAN, or Firing Line as models for the program it will air on October 2, the night before the first presidential debate. The satellite company calls its special …
Al Gore once stood on the podium accepting the Democratic Party’s nominations for both Vice-President and President. This year, the former VP will be up in the skybox reporting on both the DNC and the RNC for Current TV. The channel Gore co-founded made the announcement today:
New York, NY, August 8, 2012 – Vice President Al Gore will be leading Current TV’s coverage of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Coverage of the Republican National Convention (RNC) begins August 27th from 7pm – 11pm EST and will continue for all four nights, concluding on August 30th. Coverage of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) begins on September 4th from 7pm – 11pm EST and will conclude on September 6th. Vice President Gore will be joined by former Michigan Governor and “The War Room” host, Jennifer Granholm, former New York Governor and “Viewpoint” host, Eliot Spitzer and “The Young Turks” host, Cenk Uygur. Additionally, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom will join the panel for the RNC coverage.
Current TV will feature reporting with real-time analysis and detailed coverage of the 2012 conventions. David Shuster and Michael Shure will report from both conventions. Also contributing will be new Current TV hosts Joy Behar and John Fugelsang. “I’m pleased to be participating in Current TV’s impressive line-up throughout the Republican and Democratic National Conventions,” said Vice President Al Gore. “Cenk, Jennifer and Eliot provide the keen insight and spot-on analysis our viewers have come to expect, combined with decades of experience in public service and a deep understanding of politics. I have no doubt that our coverage will be innovative and informative, and I look forward to working with them.”