Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Olbermann's Current Gig

Well, the big question everyone was asking about where Keith Olbermann would end up next following his abrupt departure from his nightly MSNBC perch has been answered. The ex-Countdown host announced this morning that his new role will be as a talker and "chief news officer" for Al Gore's progressive-leaning media venture Current TV. While this is somewhat unexpected, one thing that's for certain is that it's fabulous news for Gore and his investors, who just saw their meager startup -- five years old with nary a ripple in the media pond -- instantly go from a trivia question to mainstream player that will likely see its nationwide coverage increase substantially as a result of this signing.

Less certain -- for now -- is whether Olbermann's brand, built steadily for the past seven years, is strong enough to survive apart from the platform he created for himself on MSNBC, and whether sacrificing the news net's greater visibility for greater control with no corporate oversight will be a worthwhile trade-off in the longterm. I for one am looking forward to seeing what he does with his new role once his several-months exile from TV (negotiated in his MSBNC exit deal) is concluded. There's still no word on how Current TV's identity will morph around Olbermann, but I'd say it's a virtual guarantee that it will, and we should learn how very soon.

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