What Is Current TV, Anyway?

Julie Ryan Evans

Al GoreBig news today: After being fired from MSNBC, Keith Olbermann has found a new home at Current TV.  But the big question is: What is Current TV? Have you ever even heard of it? Me neither.

Oh wait, remember when Al Gore launched a network way back when (like in 2005)? Well, it's apparently still alive and kicking, and Current TV is it. It's not doing so well, however, and Olbermann has been tapped as the savior so the channel can take over the world and give a big "take that!" to MSNBC while he's at it.

So who is in his new audience, and what are they watching now?

Current TV is available to about 60 million households in the United States (MSNBC reaches about 80 million) via cable and satellite. I've never stumbled across it amidst the hundreds of channels on my television, so I can't say if it's there or not, and frankly I'm not all that concerned if it is. They sort of lost me in their description with the words "an alternative to the ‘scripted reality.'" That means no Kardashians, I guess.

A few of their programs they tout that sound somewhat intriguing include:

  • “Vanguard”
    Current’s signature, hour-long series. “Vanguard” correspondents travel the world to bring back stories no one else is telling and examine “hot-button” issues ranging from immigration and teenage drug use to Big Tobacco and human rights.
  • “This American Life”
    Inspired by the award-winning radio show “This American Life,” hosted by Ira Glass, this weekly show brings viewers compelling, fascinating, and utterly relate-able stories.
  • “4th and Forever”
    This docu-series goes inside the extraordinary Long Beach Poly High School football program, which has sent more players to the NFL than any other school in history. Current’s cameras follow the amazing lives of Poly’s players, coaches, and families, for whom football is more than a game.

Not stuff to draw the masses, but a decent lineup. Gore has high hopes for Olbermann to make ratings soar.

“Olbermann signature is intelligent commentary. He is truly one of the unfettered voices on TV. Keith is one of those rare voices, his voice is truly unique."

That's certainly a matter of opinion, and I guess those Olbermann fans who agree will be scrambling to find Current TV so they can watch him. For the rest of us, it will be interesting to sit back and see if he can do it.

If you want to check out the channel for yourself, it can be found here:

  • On DIRECTV: Channel 358.
  • On digital basic on all Time Warner Digital systems, and 103 in NYC, 142 in LA.
  • On Comcast digital basic nationwide: Channel 107 (except Seattle and Dallas where it's 125).
  • On Echostar's DISH network: Channel 196.
  • For other carriers, you can look up your neighborhood channel.

Have you ever watched Current TV? Will you now that Keith Olbermann is there?

Image via simone.brunozzi/Flickr

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