Al Jazeera announced Wednesday it will buy cable news channel Current TV.
“Current (TV) will provide the pan-Arab news giant with something it has sought for years: a pathway into American living rooms,” Brian Stelter wrote Wednesday for the New York Times’ Media Decoder blog. “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, called Al Jazeera America, based in New York. For Al Jazeera, the acquisition is a coming-of-age moment.”
Al Jazeera wasn't the only company hoping to acquire the channel.
"Before Al-Jazeera bought Current TV, TheBlaze looked into buying it but we were rejected by progressive owners," Glenn Beck said on his Twitter account yesterday.
Current TV said it refused TheBlaze's offer because "the legacy of who the network goes to is important to us, and we are sensitive to networks not aligned with our point of view," according to a Wall Street Journal report.
In a follow-up Tweet, Beck said his purpose in acquiring Current TV would have been to "put #TheBlazeTV in millions of homes across the country, not the existing line up."
Entertainment website Deadline.com provided background as to why Al Jazeera may have felt compelled to buy a competing network in order to reach more homes in the U.S.: “Al Jazeera has fought an uphill battle to win carriage on U.S. cable systems. Operators say it’s too expensive, and that there’s too little interest in the subjects it covers. Fans of the channel say it’s due to unreasonable fears that Al Jazeera’s content will be too controversial and possibly propagandistic. Al Jazeera fought back, and further infuriated cable execs, by live-streaming its English-language programming.”
The website Media Bistro further reported, “As for Current TV’s current slate of staffers and shows, the future remains unclear, but likely grim.”
Jamshid Ghazi Askar is a graduate of BYU's J. Reuben Clark Law School and member of the Utah State Bar. Contact him at [email protected] or 801-236-6051.