Former MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann is coming back to prime time on Current TV.
Olbermann will host a new nightly news and commentary show in a deal will make him an equity partner in Current Media, the parent company of the channel which reaches 60 million homes in the U.S. He will also have the title of chief news officer and look to develop other news and talk shows for the network which mostly carries unscripted and documentary programming.
"We are very glad to provide him with the platform to speak his mind," said former vice president Al Gore, a co-founder of Current, which has been around since 2005.
Olbermann left his MSNBC show Countdown on January 21 in the middle of a four-year $30 million contract. His departure agreement with MSNBC stipulated that he remain off television for six months.
Current executives said Olbermann's new show will start in the "late spring," so it will likely show up in the end of June.
In a conference call, Olbermann described Current as "not just the leading independent information network in the United States — it really is the only one." He added he had reached a point in his career that required him to "to work in a much more pristine environment," but he would not say there was any corporate interference on the part of his former employer.
While at MSNBC, Olbermann emerged as a passionate and at times outrageous progressive voice, especially after the first year of the Iraq War. His show Countdown drove viewership up and gave a point of view to MSNBC, which had been floundering for years. The partners at Current will be looking for that kind of lift from Olbermann after he arrives at his new home.
"It's the best investment that current has ever made," said Joel Hyatt, a partner in Current.
Olbermann's new show won't be much different from Countdown. "It will be an improved and stronger and amplified version of the show I did at my previous network," he said. "I'm always trying to do more or a better version than what I've done previously."
Olbermann will also be able to make political contributions in his new job, something that got him into hot water with his bosses at NBC News.
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