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Al Gore's Current TV Sold To Al Jazeera

Jan 3, 2013
Originally published on January 3, 2013 4:49 am
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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Current TV has a new owner. The news channel founded in 2004 by former Vice President Al Gore has been sold to Al Jazeera. This is part of an effort by Al Jazeera - which is based in Qatar - to reach more viewers in the United States.

As NPR's Steve Henn reports, the deal is likely to net Gore millions, and it could bring Al Jazeera into more than 40 millions American homes.

STEVE HENN, BYLINE: In the past year, Al Jazeera has won some of the most prestigious awards in broadcast journalism. But Robert Wheelock, Al Jazeera's executive producer in the Americas, says the network has struggled to get its programs onto American television sets.

ROBERT WHEELOCK: I live in New York and Washington, and I can see it in both places. Otherwise, it's, you know, places like Burlington, Vermont.

HENN: And that's about it. Many cable networks were reluctant to carry the channel. But by buying Current TV from Al Gore and his partners, Al Jazeera will gain access to tens of millions of living rooms.

WHEELOCK: They're in about 60 million homes, currently, across America. We anticipate that we'll be in about 40 million of those. But, you know, look, it's a quantum leap for us.

HENN: In a statement, Al Gore said we're proud and pleased that Al Jazeera has bought Current TV. He added: Al Jazeera, like Current, believes that facts and truth lead to a better understanding of the world around us.

Al Jazeera declined to say how much it paid for Current. A year ago, analysts valued the network at half-a-billion dollars. In 2008, when Current attempted and failed to go public, Al Gore owned 25 percent.

Steve Henn, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.