February 8th, 2011
11:04 AM ET
On Tuesday, former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann announced that he'll be heading to Current TV to host and executive produce a new primetime nightly news and commentary show.
On top of his hosting and production duties, Olbermann will also serve as Current Media's chief news officer and will have an equity stake in the company, according to a statement.
"Nothing is more vital to a free America than a free media, and nothing is more vital to my concept of a free media than news produced independently of corporate interference," Olbermann said in a statement. Current Media was founded in 2005 by Vice President Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, and is now distributed to more than 75 million households worldwide.
"In Current Media, Al Gore and Joel Hyatt have created the model truth-seeking entity," Olbermann added. "The opportunity to partner with Al, Joel and Mark Rosenthal makes this the most exciting venture in my career."
The news comes shortly after Olbermann parted ways with MSNBC in January, after eight years of working with the network. The 52-year-old had been suspended for two days in November after the website Politico revealed donations had been made to three Democrats seeking federal office.
NBC Universal said at the time that the donations violated a policy requiring employees of the news organization to get permission before any political donations or activities that could be a conflict of interest.
After his suspension, Olbermann gave his viewers an apology for "having subjected you to this unnecessary drama."
He went on, "It's not in my contract that NBC had rules about getting permission for making political donations, even though any rule like that in any company is probably not legal."
In an earlier statement, Olbermann aired his frustration with the way NBC handled the situation, claiming that the company was "inconsistent" when applying its policy and didn't hear his side of the story before suspending him.
"When a website contacted NBC about one of the donations, I immediately volunteered that there were in fact three of them; and contrary to much of the subsequent reporting, I immediately volunteered to explain all this, on-air and off, in the fashion MSNBC desired," Olbermann said.
However, all of that is now old news for Olbermann. His Current TV program is slated to air live on weeknights later this year.
On a conference call Tuesday, Olbermann revealed that the hour-long program "will be for all intents and purposes an improved and stronger and amplified version of the show I just did at my previous network. As for name and other particulars of that, stay tuned," he told reporters.
In terms of his role as a chief news officer, it was explained that Olbermann "will be very involved...in conceiving other show ideas and overseeing Current’s coverage of other issues of the day."
Current Media co-founder Gore also clarified that Olbermann will be allowed to make political donations in his new role. "We believe at Current that every citizen has the freedom of speech, and freedom of speech includes being able to donate to your candidate of choice," he said.
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