Former Vice President Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, co-founders of Current TV have sold the network to Al Jazeera for $500 million.
The low-rated Current TV is available in most cable systems around the country. The deal will give the Qatar-based Arab news network national distribution in the U.S., something it has been unable to achieve since its inception in 2006.
By acquiring Current TV, Al Jazeera will gain access to 40 million homes. When the deal was announced, Time Warner Cable dropped Current TV to avoid carrying the Arab network.
According to multiple reports, the new channel won’t be Al Jazeera English. It will be rebranded and launched as a new, U.S.-based network, tentatively called Al Jazeera America.
If that’s the case, there will likely be some hiring of news staff in the U.S. It currently has 5 bureaus in the U.S., the most important of which is in D.C.
It’ll be interesting to see if Al Jazeera will try to cater to the country’s diverse audience and if they’ll promote more Latin American coverage, something most 24 hour cable networks fail to do.
Al Jazeera, which has invested heavily in international news, has several Latin America correspondents. Among them, former CNN correspondents Lucía Newman, who joined Al Jazeera as the Buenos Aires bureau chief and Latin America Editor and Mariana Sánchez, based out of Caracas.