Keith Olbermann, the former top-rated host of “Countdown” on the news channel MSNBC, will announce his next television home on Tuesday, and people familiar with his plans pointed Monday to a possible deal with the public affairs channel Current TV.
Neither Mr. Olbermann, his representatives, or executives from Current TV would comment on the move, but they did not deny that the channel, which counts former Vice President Al Gore as one of its founders, will become at least one partner in Mr. Olbermann’s future media plans.
One of the people with knowledge of the plans said Mr. Olbermann would have an equity stake in Current TV. The people insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized by their employers to comment in advance of the official announcement.
On Monday a public relations agency hired by Mr. Olbermann scheduled a Tuesday morning conference call for an announcement about his next job. “He and his new partners will make an exciting announcement regarding the next chapter in his remarkable career,” the agency wrote in an e-mail.
Current TV has set up a presentation with advertisers for Wednesday afternoon in Manhattan to announce its future plans. The channel may be betting on Mr. Olbermann to put it on the cable map. The low-rated five-year-old channel needs the help. Targeting young people, it originally subsisted on YouTube-style submissions and video journalists. More recently it started producing and acquiring traditional television series, like repeats of “This American Life.”
If you were trying to decide whether to dump Comcast and switch to Dish Network, there's your reason right there.
The usual suspects will snicker about the smaller stage that Current represents, bringing in the inevitable Dan Rather comparisons. But anyone who has actually been watching Dan Rather on HDNet knows that Rather is still doing some damn fine journalism over there, while the networks continue to spend their time on Amanda Knox, Missing White Women™, Sarah Palin trademarking her name, and whether Lindsay Lohan stole a necklace. And if that is what network "journalism" has turned into, why NOT move to a smaller stage and try to turn it into a bigger one?
Besides, this gives Rachel Maddow a place to go when the suits at Comcast decide that the evening lineup at MSNBC should consist of It's Pat, with Pat Buchanan, Suckup Chucky with Chuck Todd, The John [Heileman] 'n' Mark [Halperin] Republican Toady Show, and Dave [Gregory] 'n' Karl [Rove]'s Rockin' Republican Party.