Following up on the announcement last week that Current TV was up for sale, USA Today ran an article on Nov. 5 highlighting some of the failures of the short-lived cable channel founded by former vice president Al Gore.
Vanity Fair’s Michael Wolff, writing for USA Today, aptly described Current TV as “quite a disaster area.” He pointed out that it has never been able to “clarify its mission, style or business reason for being. With a history of management quarrels, it often wasn’t even clear who was running the place.” As an example of the problems overwhelming the network, Wolff recapped Current TV’s hiring of Keith Olbermann, which “shortly ended in acrimony and recrimination.” The vitriolic Olbermann, had previously anchored a show on MSNBC -- which had ended abruptly in early 2011. Current hired him the same year, but fired him in March 2012, due to an apparent conflict of interest.
Current TV was the brainchild of global-warming obsessed Al Gore, and was meant to mobilize the “liberal young.” The network, according to Wolff, “could go down in cable history for the obtuseness and randomness its programming.”
The failed channel is left leaning enough to almost make MSNBC seem mainstream. Past and present network hosts have included not only Olbermann, but the ultra-lefty Young Turks (who are members of the left-wing Media Consortium), “comedian” John Fugelsang, Lieutenant Governor of California and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, “The View” co-host Joy Behar, and disgraced former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who gained national recognition when his liaisons with a prostitute were brought to light, resulting in his resignation as governor.
Wolff argued if Huffington Post, College Humor, Buzzfeed or some other online outfit purchased Current TV, the liberal websites would be able to move from a purely web based format to a more lucrative cable TV format. HuffPo took in $60 million without turning a profit last year, according to Wolff.
“Current TV, reaching 60 million households (a shallow cable footprint, meaning its actual viewership is a fraction of The Huffington Post's audience), took in $101 million with nearly $12 million in cash flow. That's what failure in the cable business gets you,” Wolff said.