Yesterday, Al Gore sold his pet project, Current TV, which, like, four people watch, to Al Jazeera for enough money to keep the Goracle in solar-powered personal fans for close to the next three decades.
After all, it wasn’t like it was successful. So Al Jazeera, funded primarily by the oil money that keeps Al Gore’s dreams of a world of sustainable energy and earth-toned suits from rising to a full maturity, picked up his slack, cut him a check full of tasty, tasty Saudi royal American dollars, and will take to your airwaves likely this spring.
Former Vice President Al Gore has made himself a much, much richer man by selling his little watched cable channel Current TV to the Emir of Qatar-funded Arab news channel Al-Jazeera.
Gore netted $100 million with his 20 percent stake in the network when it was sold for a reported $500 million on Wednesday.
Al-Jazeera plans to euthanize the struggling, seven-year-old Current TV and turn it into Al-Jazeera America by adding five to 10 new U.S. bureaus beyond the five it has now. More than half of its content will be U.S. news, and the network will have its headquarters in New York, according to a rep.
Obviously, Al Jazeera will face challenges adapting to a wider US audience, most notably that it generally hates Americans and has driven even the most liberal journalists to quit over it’s anti-Western bent, but then again, so did Current TV. Also, CurrentTV, in it’s heyday of Keith Olbermann, Eliot Spitzer and the ever-popular Jennifer Granholm, was only pulling approximately 45,000 viewers, or half the number of people watching static at 3am.
In the grand scheme of cable, Al Gore was drawing less viewers than the Home Shopping Network. By a lot.
But he had his reasons for wanting to sell before he had the opportunity to bring up the numbers and showcase a success on which Al Jazeera could effectively build. It seems that, despite Al Gore’s commitment to using the resources of the government to finance his own personal quest to be Captain Planet, he was unwilling to take the risk of having to commit more of his hard earned funds to the cause.
Al Jazeera did not disclose the purchase price, but people with direct knowledge of the deal pegged it at around $500 million, indicating a $100 million payout for Mr. Gore, who owned 20 percent of Current. Mr. Gore and his partners were eager to complete the deal by Dec. 31, lest it be subject to higher tax ratesthat took effect on Jan. 1, according to several people who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. But the deal was not signed until Wednesday.
Gore is said to be retaining some interest in the network, and will host specials from time to time on the subject of Global Climate Change awareness targeted specifically at the Al Jazeera viewer, who probably lives in a hotter climate than Al Gore. But at least the world will finally have a cogent argument as to why wearing a burkha aids in bringing down home heating costs.