Media Blog

Current TV Continues Its Slide

Al Gore’s network, Current TV, new home of Keith Olbermann, is being dropped from Britain’s biggest pay-TV service, BSkyB. The Guardian reports:

The satellite broadcaster took a “commercial decision” to let go of the news and documentary channel from its subscription service, which launched in a blaze of publicity in 2007 but has since struggled for ratings. The decision comes months after Current TV’s Italian network was dropped by Murdoch’s Sky Italia, prompting accusations from the channel that it was taken off air for political reasons.

The bulk of the liberal TV station’s funding had come from its pay-TV deal with Sky – understood to be worth several million pounds a year – and the channel’s 23 staff were warned at a meeting on Wednesday morning that its future is bleak.

It also shows original first-run series such as 50 Documentaries to See Before You Die, fronted by Morgan Spurlock, and will broadcast the television premiere of award-winning film documentary Shed Your Tears and Walk Away on 5 February.

Joel Hyatt, chief executive of parent company Current Media and co-founder of the channel with Gore, said: “Sky is shutting down an intelligent alternative to mass market programming.” He added: “By doing so, Sky is once again discriminating in favour of the networks it owns and the points of view News Corporation agrees with.”

Current TV’s audience in Sky homes has more than doubled in the past 12 months – but its rating are poor. Its average peaktime audience in November last year, of 4,700 viewers, was its highest yet.

So, yes, Current TV is being cut not because Rupert Murdoch doesn’t like “intelligent alternatives” to conservative News Corp networks, but because, as Jonah noted the other night, “The downside of watching Current is that when I turn to it, its ratings increase 20 percent.” Shed your tears and walk away, indeed.

Patrick Brennan — Patrick Brennan is a writer and policy analyst based in Washington, D.C. He was Director of Digital Content for Marco Rubio's presidential campaign, writing op-eds, policy content, and leading the ...

Most Popular

White House

Trump and the ‘Racist Tweets’

What does “racist” even mean anymore? Racism is the headline on President Trump’s Sunday tweets -- the media-Democrat complex assiduously describes them as “racist tweets” as if that were a fact rather than a trope. I don’t think they were racist; I think they were abjectly stupid. Like many ... Read More
White House

The Trump Steamroller

As we settle into high summer and the period of maximum difficulty in finding anything to fill in hours of television news, especially 24/7 news television, two well-established political trends are emerging in this pre-electoral period: The president’s opponents continue to dig themselves into foxholes that ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Ilhan Omar Is Completely Assimilated

Beto O’Rourke, the losing Texas Senate candidate who bootstrapped his way into becoming a losing presidential candidate, had a message for refugees who had come to America: Your new country is a hellhole. The former congressman told a roundtable of refugees and immigrants in Nashville, Tenn., last week: ... Read More
Sports

We All Wanted to Love the Women’s Soccer Team

For the first time in my life, I did not root for an American team. Whatever the sport, I have always rooted American. And if those who called in to my radio show were representative of my audience, many millions of Americans made the same sad choice. It takes a lot for people like me not to root for an ... Read More
U.S.

The ‘Squad’ Gives a Gift to Donald Trump

On Sunday, Donald Trump gave the Democrats a gift -- comments that indicate he thinks native-born congresswomen he detests should “go back” to the countries of their ancestors. On Monday, the four congresswomen handed Trump a gift in return, managing to respond to the president’s insults in some of the most ... Read More
U.S.

Men Literally Died for That Flag, You Idiots

The American flag’s place in our culture is beginning to look less unassailable. The symbol itself is under attack, as we’ve seen with Nike dumping a shoe design featuring an early American flag, Megan Rapinoe defending her national-anthem protests (she says she will never sing the song again), and ... Read More