Al Jazeera this week purchased Al Gore’s cable network Current TV in what the New York Times’ Brian Stelter called “a coming of age moment” for the Qatar-funded network in the United States. By buying Current, Al Jazeera seemed set to establish itself in the U.S. after struggling for years to gain purchase in unreceptive markets outside of New York and Washington.
However, hours after the estimated $500 million deal was made, Time Warner Cable announced that it would no longer carry the Current channel, and thus Al Jazeera’s new channel Al Jazeera America would not be distributed by the cable provider. Although the Current deal will still bring Al Jazeera into around 40 million American homes, the Time Warner move constituted a considerable blow for the globally respected network — Time Warner Cable reaches 12 million homes.
Joel Hyatt, who co-founded Current TV with former Vice President Al Gore, told staff in a Wednesday night memo that Time Warner Cable “did not consent to the sale to Al Jazeera.”
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