Keith Olbermann, the acclaimed broadcaster and writer whose verbal pyrotechnics and moral passion have outraged, informed, and dazzled viewers of “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” for the past eight years, is bringing his slashing wit, analytical eye, and distinctive commentary to Current Media, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning TV and digital media company that was founded in 2005 by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt and is now distributed in more than 75 million households around the world.
The complete press release is included after the jump.
Keith Olbermann to Host Major New Nightly Primetime News and Commentary Show on Current TV
ICONOCLASTIC BROADCASTER JOINS CURRENT MEDIA CO-FOUNDERS AL GORE AND JOEL HYATT, WILL ALSO SERVE AS COMPANY’S CHIEF NEWS OFFICER
NEW YORK, Feb. 8, 2011 — Keith Olbermann, the acclaimed broadcaster and writer whose verbal pyrotechnics and moral passion have outraged, informed, and dazzled viewers of “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” for the past eight years, is bringing his slashing wit, analytical eye, and distinctive commentary to Current Media, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning TV and digital media company that was founded in 2005 by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt and is now distributed in more than 75 million households around the world.
In addition to executive producing and hosting a new nightly primetime news and commentary show, Olbermann will also serve as the company’s Chief News Officer and will have an equity stake in Current Media.
The new show will air live weeknights in primetime beginning later in 2011.
“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,” said Olbermann. “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.”
“Keith Olbermann is a gifted thinker, an amazing talent and a powerful communicator, and having him tap Current as his new home is exciting and very much in line with the core vision we founded this network on: To engage viewers with smart, provocative and timely programming,” said Al Gore, Chairman and co-founder of Current. “In a world where there are fewer and fewer opportunities to hear truly distinct, unfettered voices on television, we are delighted to provide Keith with the independent platform and freedom that Current can, and does uniquely offer.”
“Keith Olbermann is one of our society’s most courageous talents. He speaks truth to power. He calls them as he sees them. He speaks his mind. Our society needs his kind of thoughtful analysis and commentary,” said Joel Hyatt, Executive Vice Chairman and co-founder of Current. “Keith Olbermann is not afraid of dissenters. In his long and impressive career, he has developed a massive following of intelligent, informed people who enjoy a good debate and smart conversation. We welcome Keith and we also look forward to welcoming his fans as new Current TV viewers.”
Keith Olbermann’s show will lead a programming slate on Current that includes original and acquired TV series aimed at an influential adult audience. Current features compelling stories about everyday heroes and ordinary people in extraordinary situations, and takes you to sometimes dangerous and always intriguing places. Current shines a light on controversial subjects, tackling hot issues of the day in a thoughtful and sometimes humorous way. Current engages its viewers by sparking debate and discussion, and via interactive formats that allow viewers to inform its stories.
“We’re very excited to welcome Keith Olbermann to Current,” said Mark Rosenthal, CEO, Current Media. “Current is aimed at viewers who seek authentic, thought-provoking and meaningful television and an alternative to the ‘scripted reality’ or hard news found on other non-fiction networks. Keith is one of our great provocateurs. His style and voice are perfectly aligned with the programming we’ve developed to deliver on what those viewers demand.”
About Current Media:
Current Media, the Peabody-and Emmy Award-winning television and online network founded in 2005 by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, engages viewers with smart, provocative and timely programming stories that no one else is telling in ways that no one else is telling them. Current’s programming shines a light where others won’t dare and boldly explores important subjects — opening minds, sparking conversations and forming deep connections with its viewers. The channel’s audience is comprised of affluent, curious, social and connected adults who crave the kind of entertaining, enlightening, witty and informative programming found on Current’s TV and online properties. Current is now available via cable and satellite TV in 75 million households worldwide 60 million households in the US through distribution partners Comcast (Channel 107); Time Warner; DirecTV (Channel 358 nationwide); Dish Network (Channel 196 nationwide); Verizon and AT&T. In the UK and Ireland, Current is available on BSkyB (Channel 183) and Virgin Media (Channel 155), and in Italy, Current is available on Sky Italia (Channel 130). Viewers can also find Current online at www.current.com.
KEITH OLBERMANN BIO
After receiving broadcasting honors that include three Edward R. Murrow Awards (including one for his coverage of 9/11), the Cable Ace for national sportscaster of the year, and co-host of Entertainment Weekly’s selection as the 67th greatest television program of all time, Keith Olbermann now joins Current TV as its Chief News Officer as well as Executive Producer and host of its centerpiece nightly news and commentary program.
Olbermann won his third Murrow award during the last of his eight seasons as Managing Editor and host of the same program on MSNBC. As host of “Countdown,” Olbermann attracted a large and devoted audience, his outspoken commentary, rhetorical virtuosity, and undeniable passion making the show the highest rated program on MSNBC as well as lightning rod for controversy.
A sports and news broadcaster since he was in high school, Olbermann began his professional career as a United Press International stringer at the age of 17. At 20, he joined UPI’s national radio network as an anchor, reporter, and commentator, covering his first Olympics and World Series at the age of 21. A year later he broke into television with the fledgling CNN, and after successful stops anchoring sports at local stations in Boston and Los Angeles, he came to national prominence co-hosting ESPN’s “SportsCenter.”
His work on “SportsCenter” from 1992 to 1997, distinguished by his provocative blending of pop culture and sports, launched a new era of sportscasting. While at ESPN, Olbermann was chosen to launch the ESPN Radio Network and ESPN2. He also co-authored the critically acclaimed book “The Big Show” about his experiences working on “SportsCenter.” After being offered a joint position with NBC News and NBC Sports, Olbermann left ESPN in 1997. In addition to hosting the World Series and Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game, and contributing to pre-game coverage of the Super Bowl, he anchored two nightly primetime news programs on MSNBC, “The Big Show,” and “White House In Crisis,” and served as a substitute anchor on weekend editions of NBC Nightly News.
The following year, in a transaction unique in broadcasting history, NBC sold Olbermann’s contract to Fox Sports for $1 million. At Fox, Olbermann became host of the network’s Emmy-winning Baseball Game of the Week Pre-Game Show as well as of its All-Star Game and World Series coverage. He also anchored and served as Senior Correspondent for Fox’s attempt to compete with “SportsCenter,” “Fox Sports News.”
Olbermann rejoined CNN in 2001 as a correspondent for “NewsNight” and substitute anchor for other network news programs. He also covered 9/11 and its aftermath for KFWB Radio in Los Angeles and the ABC Radio Network. Late that year, he was asked by ABC to revive the “Speaking of Sports” and “Speaking of Everything” daily radio franchises begun by Howard Cosell, and also served for the following 18 months as the official substitute for the legendary Paul Harvey.
By February of 2003, Olbermann had returned to NBC to anchor the same 8 PM news hour he had left more than four years earlier (which MSNBC had struggled to fill in his absence, turning to 17 different programs and formats in the interim). In 2005, Olbermann reunited with his “SportsCenter” co-host Dan Patrick for a daily program on ESPN Radio, and in 2006 he joined NBC’s “Football Night In America” as co-host.
Olbermann has written for dozens of publications, including The New York Times, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Time, Sports Illustrated and Playboy, and maintains an official Major League Baseball blog for MLB.Com. The first of his five books, “The Major League Coaches,” was published when he was 14, and the subsequent four each made The New York Times best-sellers list. Olbermann received a bachelor’s of science degree in communications arts from Cornell University. He was born, and lives, in New York City.