Al Jazeera has purchased cable channel Current TV in a move that will put the Middle Eastern news channel into more than 40 million American homes, Al Jazeera announced Wednesday.
Al Jazeera will replace Current TV, which was founded by former Vice President Al Gore in 2005, to create a new channel based in New York. Approximately 60 percent of the programming for the channel, which will be called Al Jazeera America, will be produced in America with the other 40 percent from the already existing Al Jazeera English, which is based in Doha, Qatar, according to The New York Times, which first reported the news.
"For many years, we understood that we could make a positive contribution to the news and information available in and about the United States and what we are announcing today will help us achieve that goal. By acquiring Current TV, Al Jazeera will significantly expand our existing distribution footprint in the U.S., as well as increase our newsgathering and reporting efforts in America," Al Jazeera Director General Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani said in a statement. "We look forward to working together with our new cable and satellite partners to serve our new audiences across the U.S. I am both exceptionally pleased and very proud that we could take this very important step."
Current's current schedule of shows, which are hosted by personalities like Joy Behar and former Governor Eliot Spitzer, will likely end in the spring, according to the newspaper. Al Jazeera America will launch sometime this year.
Many of the country's cable and satellite distributors have been reluctant to carry Al Jazeera English, save for cities like New York and Washington D.C. However, this deal will allow the news company to compete more directly with CNN and other news channels.
Current TV drew 42,000 viewers on a typical night in 2012, according to the Times.
Co-founder Joel Hyatt confirmed the channel was for sale in October saying, "Current has been approached many times by media companies interested in acquiring our company. This year alone, we have had three inquiries. As a consequence, we thought it might be useful to engage expertise to help us evaluate our strategic options."
Will you watch Al Jazeera America? Will you miss Current TV?