Since it premiered in late 2008, 'The Rachel Maddow Show' has occupied MSNBC's 9PM hour, and has gradually gained prominence, and ratings. It now consistently averages over 1 million viewers per night and ranks 2nd in the 9 PM cable news standings, behind Fox's Sean Hannity but ahead of 'Piers Morgan Tonight' on CNN.
Though Current didn't release the full numbers, its an encouraging debut, considering that Current is only available in 60 million homes. While traditional new show debuts can often represent a ratings' peak, the case of Olbermann importing his ready-made audience to an upstart network may buck that trend. If that's the case and he's able to steadily grow these initial numbers, Olbermann and his Current boss Al Gore could be in a position to significantly shake up the nightly cable news landscape.
Olbermann is certainly doing his best to promote his new program, appearing last night on 'The Late Show With David Letterman' to read a Top List titled "10 Reasons to Watch the New Countdown With Keith Olbermann.' Check out the video after the jump.
If you've never heard of the channel -- it's so hard to keep track of all those stations way up in the high numbers on our cable boxes, isn't it? -- you're not alone. Maybe you've never watched it, or maybe you came across it channel surfing at 1AM but didn't even know what you'd stumbled across.
In what Shakespeare might've described as a marriage of true minds, Keith Olbermann announced Tuesday morning that he's taking his talents to Al Gore's Current TV later this year.
But the question now is what this means for Current TV, which averages a mere 23,000 viewers a night, and what it means for the former MSNBC host.
The cable network announced that the incendiary former top-rated MSNBC host will helm a new nightly prime-time news and commentary show that will debut sometime later this year.
Olbermann was also named chief news officer of Current TV and will receive an equity stake in the company. Current TV, founded in part by former Vice President Al Gore, began in 2005 and now has international branches in the U.K., Italy and South Africa.
"Nothing is more vital to a free America than a free media, and nothing is more vital to my concept of a free media than news produced independently of corporate interference," Olbermann said in a press release.
"In Current Media, Al Gore and Joel Hyatt have created the model truth-seeking entity. The opportunity to partner with Al, Joel and Mark Rosenthal makes this the most exciting venture in my career."
Ostroff, the former head of UPN, has been with The CW since its inception and is the longest-running sitting broadcast president.
According to Deadline Hollywood, Ostroff will remain active with the network as her contract winds down in June. She'll oversee the midseason launch and order pilots for the fall 2011 season.
In other TV news ...
• Damian Lewis has joined the cast of Showtime's 'Homeland.' The 'Life' veteran will play the male lead, Marine Sergeant Scott Brody, who returns home after spending eight years as a prisoner of war in Baghdad. Claire Danes also stars as Carrie Anderson, a CIA agent who suspects Brody may be plotting an attack on America. [Deadline Hollywood]
• Cartoon Network's 'Young Justice' will premiere on Jan. 7. The show about DC Comics sidekicks launched with a movie event in November. Look for new episodes to air Fridays at 7PM. [Kryptonsite]
• Disney was denied its appeal of a $319 million 'Millionaire' verdict. A federal judge ruled that Disney/ABC and Buena Vista cheated producer Celador International out of millions of dollars by cutting sweetheart deals to bring 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire?' to America. [Hollywood Reporter]
Well, that's a great question, person who says things to themselves. You need to watch this because it's a one-stop for all of the things you don't have the time or energy to keep track of and watch.
Will Wright, the creator of the iconic line of "Sim" games including the popular "Sims," has created a program called the "Storymaker Engine" that lets ordinary schlubs like you and me create TV shows using Sims.
Wright and company are hoping that the stories created from this engine can be turned into an entertaining half-hour to hour of television for Current TV. "Machinima" shows like 'Red vs. Blue' and the 'South Park' 'Make Love, Not Warcraft' episode have helped bring some video game driven entertainment to audiences, but would you watch an entire show that was produced on a video game?
My friends, if you thought the coverage that's been going on since the day after the 2006 Congressional election has been overwhelming, you ain't seen nothing yet. Come sunrise on November 4th the television airwaves will be inundated with election coverage, comment, pontification, and general BS. Red states will become blue, blue states will become red, graphs will be drawn on easel boards with black marker and someone will predict the winner of the entire Presidential election at 7:00:01 p.m.
So, if you are wholly disinterested in the old way that the elections are covered you may want to tune into Current TV, or its website if you don't have the channel on your digital box, for an alternative to get the results you need. In this case, it's you, the couch potato that you are, who will be providing the coverage. It's called "Current Diggs the Election" and the way it works will be unique.
Most people know that public radio is a huge thing here in Minnesota. We are the home of Lake Wobegon, after all. Recently, Minnesota Public Radio filed a lawsuit against Al Gore's Current TV, claiming that internet users would confuse Gore's independent network with "The Current" a popular MPR-owned music station here in the Twin Cities. The lawsuit claims the radio station had already applied for a trademark of the name "Current" four months before Gore's new venture was changed from "INdTV" to "Current TV." Representatives from Current TV issued a statement noting that over 300 businesses use the word "current" in their name.
It's easy to dismiss this as just a frivolous lawsuit. After all, who's going to confuse a radio station with an independent TV network? What bothers me even more, though, is that public radio should be championing a TV network that eschews corporate news for citizen journalism. I would have expected MPR to support Current TV, not try to bring it down.
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