Olbermann to join Gore's Current TV

Keith Olbermann

LOS ANGELES -- Keith Olbermann, the controversial broadcaster who abruptly exited MSNBC last month, announced Tuesday morning that this spring he will join Current TV, the little-watched but rapidly growing cable outlet founded by former Vice President Al Gore and legal entrepreneur Joel Hyatt.

Olbermann, who will have an as-yet untitled nightly program on Current and also become chief news officer and take an equity stake in the network, said in a teleconference that he was looking forward to a platform offering "news produced independently of corporate interference."

Current, which is available in about 60 million U.S. cable and satellite homes and has 15 million more subscribers internationally, is a private company and does not report financial results. But the 6-year-old network is supported by advertising and is seeking broader support among cable carriers, as well as a larger audience. Perhaps not coincidentally, the network will offer its "upfront" preview of programming to advertisers today, with Olbermann's hiring expected to be central.

"Advertisers have certainly looked at Keith as advertiser-friendly," Gore told reporters.

Olbermann and his new bosses offered few details about the new program, although the broadcaster hinted that it would be similar to "Countdown," the nightly opinion show that showcased liberal opinion and newsmakers.

"Countdown" was MSNBC's top-rated offering, but the host frequently clashed with management at NBC Universal.