Al Jazeera the pioneering broadcaster in the Arab world acquired Current TV. It will use wider distribution avenues the network offers to launch a new channel based in the U.S.
The purchase will provide the Arab network with millions of potential households in the U.S., a lucrative market the broadcaster, based in Qatar, has coveted for years. The deal will also mean that Current TV, the channel with low ratings and co-founded by Al Gore, the former Vice President of the U.S., will end.
Al Jazeera announced it would close Current and start a new network based in New York. The government of Qatar finances Al Jazeera and the network said it was planning to expand its U.S. presence opening more bureaus and doubling its current staff of 150 to 300.
Both Gore and the stations CEO and co-founder, Joel Hyatt said they are pleased and proud that Current TV was purchased by Al Jazeera the international award winning new organization.
Current TV has struggled since its inception to attract audiences in the U.S. emerging as a left leaning channel that one featured Keith Olbermann, the controversial host it hired and later fired.
The English language channel of Al Jazeera is available currently in the U.S. in only select markets. Current TV currently reaches 60 million households, which is an estimate given by the channel’s management.
No financial terms of the sale were released.
Al Jazeera has tried for many years to convince providers of cable inside the U.S. to add their channel to their list of programming. However, as the network looked to expand, it became a political controversy drawing allegations and criticism of bias.