Former VP and Current chairman says a spontaneous new demand for his network has already started, thanks to the hiring of MSNBC's controversial anchor
Get this: Al Gore has great things to say about Keith Olbermann joining Current TV.
The Current chairman and co-founder spoke to TheWrap Wednesday, as Current unveiled its new programming slate to reporters, in advance of its upfront presentation to advertisers — just one day after announcing the former "Countdown" host's new primetime show premiering in late spring.
Olbermann also will become the network's chief news officer, providing input on all its coverage.
Gore had few specifics about the network's goals for Olbermann — or how it plans to move beyond the 58 million domestic households in which it is now available. He also declined to get into the extent of Current's profitability, except to say, "We're very happy."
But if Olbermann is getting paid in praise from the former vice president, he's a very rich man.
How will the network grow with Olbermann? How do you see him increasing your viewership, the way he did at MSNBC?
Well, he's a unique talent and he has a magnetic personaltiy and people form a relationship with him because they know that he is brilliant, they know he is speaking from his heart, they know he has passionate beliefs. He cares about them a lot. And he marries that to his formidable intelligence. And I think people appreciate his authenticity and where he's coming from. They know he's for real.
I think it's no more complicated than that. In television … there's a kind of an X factor that some people have and some people don't. And whatever label you put on that he has it in spades. And his audience follows him passionately. That's pretty unique.
Do you think he'll create a groundswell of people asking their cable providers to make Current available to them?
It's already started. Spontaneously … Starting yesterday with the announcement, absolutely. You can look on Twitter and find it. It's not something that — it began spontaneously.
Do you have any sense of the number of people who are reaching out to cable providers or cable providers that are reaching out to you?
This is a spontaneous thing that's just emerging on its own. It's a self-organized group and that's the best kind to have.
Do you have any ratings targets for Olbermann, or a target in terms of the number of households you'd like Current to reach?
Well, we're so excited about this new development and we are going to do our best to execute well and give him the independent platform to speak his mind. And then watch it unfold.