Current TV has a new owner. The struggling cable network co-founded and introduced to the world by former Vice President Al Gore, has been sold to Al Jazeera, news of which was confirmed Wednesday (Jan. 2).
The Qatar-owned network has plans to replace Current TV with Al Jazeera America with hopes of expanding its viewership to roughly 40 million homes.
Gore said in a statement that Al Jazeera shares in Current TV's vision “to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power, to provide independent and diverse points of views; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling.”
As of now Al Jazeera English is available in mostly large cities like New York and Washington, reaching upwards for 4 million homes. Al Jazeera America will feature mostly U.S. content and will be headquartered in New York. “This is a pure business decision based on recognized demand,” said spokesman Stan Collender. “When people watch Al Jazeera, they tend to like it a great deal.”
But the acquisitions is already causing issues. Current TV had trouble finding a solid audience and given Al Jazeera's link to Osama Bin Laden—whose terrorist recordings they broadcast—cable companies are not excited about carrying the network.
Yesterday, Time Warner Cable dropped Current TV after learning of the new deal, but has since decided to “keep an open mind,” about picking up Al Jazeera America. “As the service develops, we will evaluate whether it makes sense for our customers to launch the network,” the company said in a statement.
Al Jazeera is said to have paid $500 million for Current TV. Gore's cut is $100 million.