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Will Keith Olbermann Make Al Gore TV Current, or Fade Away?
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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One month ago, MSNBC stood by its morals by standing on the neck of one Keith Theodore Olbermann. Amid a kerfuffle that took the national media by storm and left the children of the '80s jonesin' for Europe's tune "The Final Countdown," the home of the newsy peacock was left wondering where they were going without the vociferous lightning rod. People who have been fans of his for years were wondering something more personal: "Where is he going?"

FOX hates him. CNN probably can't handle him. NPR listens to him without public admission. And he's a bit too tame to become the spokesman for PETA. And then, a PR lightbulb struck so bright above Al Gore's head, you would swear he was thinking of the Hindenburg. As reported by AP, and just about everyone else with access to a MAC, Keith Olbermann was hired by Gore's fairly unknown network Current TV as a host and its "chief news officer."

"We now live in a world with fewer and fewer opportunities to hear truly unique, truly unfettered voices on television," Gore said. "Keith is one of those rare voices."

Let's track that unfettered voice: CNN Sports, ESPN & Sportscenter, FOX Sports Net, MSNBC...and now where, again?! Arguably, the former veep has a public relations coup in his hands and a ratings bonanza pending in the latter half of 2011. Olbermann is far from dense. He knows his presence is an instant bump in relevance for the beleaguered Current TV. Seriously, did you know that Al Gore took his inconvenient truths to a satellite network? Moving on then.

Consider Al Gore. Now think Mark Cuban. Fast forward to Keith Olbermann. Does the name Dan Rather ring a bell? He was one of the most respected men in journalism until a minor snafu in reporting on President Bush's Air National Guard days cost him his throne at CBS. Today, he's doing a stand-up job, speaking his mind and reporting on stories that interest him. Only one thing: Guys on day-long benders waiting for MMA competition and Girls Gone Wild are the only ones that see it. And there's the rub.

Will Olbermann bring Current TV up to...well, current TV viewership standards, or will he experience a two-week blitzkrieg of national news and Nielsen overload only to be never heard from again? Personally, I'd like to wish him courage but I'm concerned that once reality sets in, he'll be screaming, "Oh the humanity!" from his green room.


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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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