The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

January 3, 2013

Pan-Arab Al-Jazeera buys Current TV from Al Gore

(Continued)

LOS ANGELES —

Sheik Ahmed took over last year following the abrupt resignation of the company's longtime Palestinian head, Wadah Khanfar, who was widely credited with helping build Al-Jazeera into an influential global brand. In his departure note to staff, he said he was leaving behind "a mature organization" that "will continue to maintain its trailblazing path."

Both the English and the Arabic channels actively covered the protests, violence and political upheaval that have become known as the Arab Spring.

Current, meanwhile, began as a groundbreaking effort to promote user-generated content. But it has settled into a more conventional format of political talk television with a liberal bent. Gore worked on-air as an analyst during its recent election night coverage.

Among its leading personalities are former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer and Cenk Uygur, a former political commentator on MSNBC who hosts the show called "The Young Turks." Current signed Keith Olbermann to be its top host in 2011 but his tenure lasted less than a year before it ended in bad blood on both sides.

On Wednesday, former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm said the public affairs program she hosts would stay on the air for the next few weeks before she leaves for other pursuits.

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom also said he will end his show on Current TV by the end of January, although he said he decided to do so before the acquisition was announced.

Current has largely been outflanked by MSNBC in its effort be a liberal alternative to the leading cable news network, Fox News Channel.

Current hired former CNN Washington bureau chief David Bohrman in 2011 to be its president. Bohrman pushed the network to innovate technologically, with election night coverage that emphasized a conversation over social media.

Current TV, founded in 2005 by former vice president Gore and Joel Hyatt, is expected to post $114 million in revenue in 2013, according to research firm SNL Kagan. The firm pegged the network's cash flow at nearly $24 million a year.

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AP Television Writer David Bauder and AP Technology Writer Peter Svensson in New York and AP writer Adam Schreck in Baghdad contributed to this report.

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