Long-struggling news network Current TV has been acquired by Al Jazeera, the massive Middle East news corporation which has variously earned praise and attracted controversy for its coverage.
According to The New York Times, Al Jazeera plans to create a completely new channel — tentatively called Al Jazeera America — which will feature 60 percent original programming. (The rest will be provided by Al Jazeera’s English-language channel, headquartered in Qatar.) The acquisition marks the end of the Current TV experiment — the network was founded in 2005 and appeared poised for a major leap in viewership after it hired Keith Olbermann in 2011, but that plan backfired, to put it mildly.
Al Jazeera remains controversial in the U.S., but has attracted considerable accolades, especially in its coverage of the Arab Spring. The new channel is currently slated to officially launch in 2013.
Current TV has released an official statement from Al Gore, the channel’s co-founder and chairman:
“We are proud and pleased that Al Jazeera, the award-winning international news organization, has bought Current TV. Since its founding in 2005, Current has grown into a national network available in nearly 60 million homes, offering thought-provoking commentary and Emmy and Peabody award-winning programming. Current Media was built based on a few key goals: to give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling. Al Jazeera, like Current, believes that facts and truth lead to a better understanding of the world around us.”