Pioneering Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera has acquired Current TV, and will use the network’s wider distribution avenues to launch a new U.S.-based channel.
The takeover will provide Al Jazeera with access to millions of U.S. households, a lucrative market the Qatar-based broadcaster has long coveted. The deal also means the end of Current, the low-rated channel co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore.
Al Jazeera said it will shutter Current and create a New York-based network. Al Jazeera, which is financed by the government of Qatar, said it plans to expand its presence in the U.S., opening new bureaus and doubling its staff to 300 employees.
“We are proud and pleased that Al Jazeera, the award-winning international news organization, has bought Current TV,” Gore and Joel Hyatt, the station’s co-founder and CEO, said in a statement released Wednesday.
Current has long struggled to attract an audience in the U.S., emerging in its latest iteration as a left-leaning outfit fashioned in the image of Keith Olbermann, the firebrand host hired — and then fired — by the channel.