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“Al Gore cashes in on Current TV”

Al Gore sold Current TV to Al Jazeera for $500 million. I don’t about you, but I have never seen that channel and don’t know a single person who ever has. Guess what: Al gets $100 million out of this deal.

It is interesting that this deal permits Al Jazeera to gain access to “40 million homes in the United States,” reports the The New York Times in its article, “Gore Went to Bat for Al Jazeera, and Himself.”

The New York Times also reported:

Al Gore’s Current TV was never popular with viewers, but it was a hit where it counted: with cable and satellite providers. When he co-founded the channel in 2005, Mr. Gore managed to get the channel piped into tens of millions of households — a huge number for an untested network — through a combination of personal lobbying and arm-twisting of industry giants.

The Associated Press video, via USA Today, tells more:

The A.P. story accompanying the photo above adds:

Al-Jazeera, owned by the government of Qatar, plans to gradually transform Current into a new channel called Al-Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now and hiring more journalists.

Al-Jazeera spokesman Stan Collender said there are no rules against foreign ownership of a cable channel — unlike the strict rules limiting foreign ownership of free-to-air TV stations. He said the move is based on demand, adding that 40% of viewers on Al-Jazeera English’s website are from the U.S. …

Al-Jazeera is clearly making a sharp move after a long struggle to gain access to an audience in the United States. Personally, I hope that my cable carrier provides the channel. After all, as we all can, we can listen to news on a wide variety of channels and discern for ourselves what is the best information.

One of my personal dreams is that, someday, cable and satellite companies in the U.S. will offer more programming from other countries. For example, I would like to receive a cable package that includes programming from Canada and the U.K. For the past year, I have received a free subscription to Starz and Encore.

The Crimson Petal & the WhiteLast year, Encore purchased “Crimson Petal and the White,” a brilliant portrayal of the realities of life in the Victorian era. The four-part series came from the BBC. I also wish that I could see the many fine documentaries that air on the BBC.

If you follow this link to the Crimson Petal and the White, you will find a way to see the series via instant video and DVD, as well as read the novel.

I realize this is a bit off-topic, but I found this series compelling and wish there were an easier way to see BBC’s fine programming.

At any rate, I found this story of Al Gore’s sale rather amusing. His ability to sell a channel that probably few people watch is rather surprising although, as I said above, it is a smart move by Al Jazeera, which a great many people I know like to follow via its Web site and e-mails.

  • Raymond McGovern

    Al-Jazeera English is actually quite a good news network (available online, but no really available in the U.S.). It is largely modeled on the BBC and has some very good people working for it. Their Middle East coverage is particularly very good. We will have to see what the new Al-Jazeera America looks like, once it replaces Current TV. Hopefully it will provide a good alternative news source for Americans. It will give Americans a long needed direct source of information from the Middle East, a region that America has been much more involved with since 9-11 and with the Arab Spring a great deal is happening.

  • pghpuma

    Qatar is a fairly rich place and is friendly to the US. The Emir ousted his father in a non-violent Coup while Dad was on vacation. Maybe he can help us oust Barry next Christmas. Carnegie Mellon, Texas A & M, Georgetown and Northwestern are among Universities that have a branch there in what they call Education City. The Younger Al Thani supports female suffrage and the US Military. More foreign nationals work there than citizens who are quite wealthy from oil, but they can – no doubt – put on a better show than the “current” trust fund babies.

  • pghpuma

    I’ll give you my account number so you can give me referral credit for DirectTV. They offer both current and BBC along with some great world news. Current did a lot of documentary stuff on marijuana…tonite’s offering, Street Gangs of El Salvador and Arming the Mexican Cartels. I don’t like it because its point of view is reactionary and Sesame Street liberal.

  • KataKimbe

    BBC is good for an international input.

  • KataKimbe

    I heard on FNC that TWC will be dripping the Current TV channel with this deal.

  • HELENK2
  • Hokma

    Maybe in DC but I never saw Current TV anywhere on any channel.

    I do know that Time/Warner Cable immediately dropped them as soon as AL Jazeera bought them.

    • KataKimbe

      I posted the same before reading your comment.

  • Hokma

    “One of my personal dreams is that, someday, cable and satellite companies in the U.S. will offer more programming from other countries.”

    Unfortunately when you travel overseas and stay at a hotel, there are multiple news channels from different countries – all of them have one thing in common – it’s all bash the United States.

  • HELENK2
    • elizabethrc

      Like Al Gore has one iota of credibility anymore.
      A has been who is out of step with American opinion.

  • elizabethrc

    I hear and understand the argument for knowing what Al Jazeera is up to, but I have qualms about their presence in our society.
    I don’t worry about sane, educated people being able to watch Al Jazeera because they are able to make equitable judgments about what they see and hear.
    It’s the ones who are all too ready to listen to and are too easily swayed by propaganda about how bad America is, how bad Christians and Jews are and how allah is the one true God, and who will be persuaded to perhaps do unspeakable names by those who run this network.
    Look at the presence of radical islamists in our prison system. There are far too many converts there. It’s one reason we should never allow any terrorist detainees to be tried in our court system and sentenced to be in our American prisons. Keep them on that little island where they can’t spread their extremist and violent views.

  • HELENK2

    http://www.canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/52163

    a little bit on news on al goreeza from another country

    • elizabethrc

      That was very wicked, funny and on target, but wicked! I sent it on to like minded friends.

      • DianaLC

        Yes, wickedly funny!

  • HELENK2

    it’s ok that dirty oil money was green. Getting the deal done before the higher taxes cut is just good business not hypocritcal,
    my laughing all the way to the bank , does not contribute the the hot air causing global warming

    • KenoshaMarge

      Gore goes gets green!

  • Retired_from_SPOnaj

    My only visibility into Current programming was because it was offered for free on Virgin America. It was what you would expect from Al Gore–preachy and self-righteous. I wonder whether the cable channels (and Virgin America) has some sort of non-recourse, long term access deal with Current which was the real reason that Al Jazeera bought it. At any rate, I welcome Al Jazeera to cable. It makes it easier for me to monitor the message from that side of the street.

  • HARP2

    At least all the rejects from MSNBC will have a place to go.