The Arab news channel Al Jazeera is in the final stages of acquiring Current TV, the news-and-commentary channel founded by Al Gore and others, The New York Times reports.
Though not historically successful in the ratings, Current is available in 60 million of the 100 million American homes with cable or satellite service. If the deal goes through, it would give Al Jazeera a better platform from which to compete with CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC and other American cable-news outlets.
Al Jazeera already offers English-language content on its Al Jazeera English channel, which is based in Qatar and is not carried on cable systems in most parts of America. The Times reports that Al Jazeera will form a new channel — possibly called Al Jazeera America — in New York. The new venture will mix U.S.-produced programming with Al Jazeera English content in a roughly 60/40 ratio.
Current was founded in 2005 by Gore and American businessman Joel Hyatt. It gained some buzz in 2011 by hiring Keith Olbermann after his MSNBC ouster (he was later let go from Current TV, as well) and has since presented a liberal stance on the topics of the day.