Al-Jazeera to Acquire Gore’s Current TV

Via The New York Times:

5:48 p.m. | Updated Al Jazeera is putting the final touches on a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore and his business partners seven years ago.

If the deal is completed, Current will provide the pan-Arab news giant with something it has sought for years: a pathway into American living rooms. Current is available in about 60 million of the 100 million homes in the United States with cable or satellite service.

Rather than simply use Current to distribute its English-language channel, called Al Jazeera English and based in Doha, Qatar, Al Jazeera will create a new channel based in New York, according to people with knowledge of the deal negotiations. The channel may be called Al Jazeera America. Roughly 60 percent of the programming will be produced in the United States, while the remaining 40 percent will come from Al Jazeera English.

Al Jazeera may absorb some Current TV staff members, according to the people, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. But Current’s schedule of shows will most likely be dissolved in the spring.

For Al Jazeera, the impending acquisition is a coming-of-age moment. A decade ago, the Arabic-language channel was reviled by American politicians for showing video tapes and messages from al Qaeda members and sympathizers. Now it is acquiring an American channel.

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