Keith Olbermann Returns Tonight With “Countdown” at Current TV, But Many Cable Companies Don’t Carry It. Why Not? (w/Update)

UPDATE (5:40 P.M. CDT):  If your cable company does not carry Current TV, you can watch it on Ready TV, a “100% free, 24/7 digital TV” Web site. And there,if you have WiFi or an Internet connection, you will be able to see Keith. Please donate  to this operation for what they are doing, if you’re going to visit Ready TV regularly.  Whatever you can, there is no subscription.  It’s only right.

Ready TV is here. (Note: I’ve revised the link to reflect the new link address.)

I don’t like that Keith is purposely going against Rachel.  Not good at all.   Just do your job, Keith.

Current TV commissioned a one-word wordstorm photo from potential and current Countdown fans to find out how they feel about Olbermann's return. Yes, finally. But when will all Madison's cable systems carry "Countdown"? Probably not by tonight, the show's maiden voyage (Courtesy: Current TV)

He may be a blowhard at times, but at least, affectionately speaking, he is our blowhard.

But does Charter Communications carry Current TV in Madison?  No.

Who does?  AT & T U-verse at Channel 189; Direct TV at Channel 358; and DISH Network at Channel 196 all carry Current TV. You’d better check your listings and your cable package to make sure.

But a lot of of cable providers do not carry Current TV.

Madison, which prides itself as an island of sanity in the middle of Wisconsin, does not have full access to Current TV. And Charter is the thousand-pound gorilla in town.

That’s gotta change.  Especially when you get something like that upwind.

Olbermann is working on cable providers, like Cablevision,  for example, to get them to add Current TV to their line-up.  If you want to send a message to your cable provider about why they don’t carry Current TV, go here and enter your zip code at the right, where it says “Get Current TV at Home.” If your cable provider does not have Current, you can send an instant e-mail to them by just pressing another button beside the name of your cable network, entering your name and e-mail address and pressing send. Easy.

A Mashable article, however, has raised another issue beyond cable access.  There’s no “digital focus”; that is, you won’t be able to access the whole show on Current’s webpage or elsewhere, only excerpts edited there or for You Tube (or something like it).  Nor can people access it live from their computers if they have WiFi (CBS News experimented with having a simulcast on computers a couple of years back of the CBS Evening News). And that’s a bummer.   That’s gotta change, because that would amount to an almost total blackout of his show, especially since it is going to take some time to get the providers behind Current.  Olbermann may need to pull the brakes on how Current continues to market itself in certain ways, if he’s not already aware of this.

One of the more disappointing aspects about the launch of the new Countdown is the lack — at least thus far — of a clear-cut digital strategy. It’s more than a little ironic that Current TV, a network that was originally formed with a focus on online content, is remaking itself to be more of the standard cable network, especially in an age when the established cable networks are trying to be more social.

Olbermann’s former network, MSNBC, has long had as strong digital presence. Not only are clips from its various programs available online (and the network has streaming deals with certain telecoms for mobile TV initiatives) almost instantly, the network has provided video podcasts of its primetime shows — including the former incarnation of Countdown. MSNBC also has a strong presence in the mobile app space.

In contrast, Current has reduced much of its online video presence to clips and promos for certain series. The website for Countdown, while beautiful and well-designed, will bring users exclusive behind-the-scenes video clips and curated clips from the nightly show. In other words, if your cable provider doesn’t carry Current, you won’t be able to watch the full show.

The ex-MSNBC commentator has also been throwing shade on his former employers and co-workers in the countdown to Countdown, especially towards Rachel Maddow.  I sure don’t like that, but when one has been burned like that, the hard feelings are slow to heal.  Says Mediaite in a June 15 article:

At first, Olbermann confined his disapproval of his former network to sporadic, mildly passive-aggressive tweets about not watching the network anymore, and grammar-copping former colleagues. About a month ago, though, Olbermann ripped MSNBC host Ed Schultz for daring to disagree with (Current TV/Countdown contributor) Michael Moore, calling Schultz a “supposedly liberal commentator, on a supposedly liberal network.”

Just last night, he suggested that his former election coverage partner, Chris Matthews, is a serial credit thief.

He later sought to draw a none-too-subtle contrast between his upcoming Current regime, and MSNBC, tweeting with characteristic passive-aggressiveness, “Presented without comment: Michael Moore named contributor to @Current Michael Steele named contributor to MSNBC.”

In later comments to The Hollywood Reporter, however, Olbermann removed any doubt that this shot was aimed squarely at former colleague Rachel Maddow, whose obvious respect and admiration for Steele must have played a role in his hiring. “There were lots of people who were forced to choose sides,” he told The Hollywood Reporter, “And particularly in Rachel’s case, I didn’t want to add to the pressure on her already. The last thing I need to do is be calling her up and saying, ‘How’s that Michael Steele working out for you?’”

For a guy who doesn’t want to add to the pressure on Rachel Maddow, Olbermann sure has a funny way of showing it. In a recent interview with the Associated PressFrazier Moore, Olbermann openly suggested that he would poach Maddow away from MSNBC at the first opportunity (a suggestion that also turned up in a recent Rolling Stone article)

Not gonna happen.   This is bullsh*t, and even if it was true, the girl would turn it down flat.  She’s now the star of the line-up at MSNBC, eclipsing even Lawrence O’Donnell and Chris “Tweety” Matthews.  She does good simply allowing those right-wing idiots enough oil to drench and immolate themselves on the funeral pyre of her show.  She barely has to say more than a few syllables at times to get her point across to everyone else on the planet, with sanity, humor, and with barely disguised sarcasm and dare I say it, contempt.  The woman is brilliant.  I heard her brilliance on Air America when it first started; I knew she was good then, and I knew she would be good anywhere she went.

But so is Keith.  And he can make it happen again.  To me, Olbermann should not allow this whole thing to devolve into a Keith versus Rachel or Keith versus MSNBC donnybrook.  Therein lies the danger and his hubris. Because he would lose and lose big. The point isn’t Keith Olbermann; the point is the rot of the corporate media not allowing the facts to predominate. The facts have to come out for Americans to make informed decisions and to insist on change. Dude, build up your creds again, and be incisive as well as poking fun, and you’ll have Lawrence O’Donnell looking for the exits. Do your job, Keith. That’s what I and millions of other fans want you to do.

On his debut show, Olbermann will be hosting Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos and filmmaker Michael Moore.  There’s been a bit of a build-up to Olbermann’s return tonight.  He named David Shuster as guest host when he’s vacationing or on assignment.   Kos and Moore are part of Keith’s line-up of contributors, which, according to the N.Y. Daily News,  includes “[…] Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi, actor Donald Sutherland, former White House counsel John Dean and comedian Maysoon Zayid.”

So far, there are only a couple of women yet (I’m hoping Zayid is one of them), and no blacks or other people of color yet.   Kee-fee, I think you need to look at this one too if you say you are in it for the long haul.

I don’t want to lose this opportunity to say that just a talk party of liberal-progressive white guys is not enough.  I dig you, and no doubt a lot of other folks of color do as well; me and my sister in Atlanta whom I had weened off of Faux Noise had something to talk about every time you did a Special Comment during the last election.   Folks were hot for you every night.   I’m sure folks were saying, preach, or an equivalent word of affirmation under their breaths when you spoke.  You got yourself a new demographic then.   It’s still viable, Keith.

However, I am sure that I am not alone when I say that we need a solid half-hour to an hour show with blacks and other black Dem-progressive types talking about national issues that also concern us.   And they can get pull with a quickness using the same savvy, common sense, and satire-humor that catapulted both you and your protegée Rachel Maddow into the limelight.  The respect and affection that you had/have with Rachel was evident when you were at MSNBC. People saw it and remarked favorably on it.   But you don’t need Rachel any more, just as she doesn’t need you.  It’s not hard to find others of color and women who are of Rachel’s caliber, and whose incisive views are diamonds.  Develop them and put them on the show and on other news shows at Current.

Sometimes I think that the problem is that white guys want the mic all the time, rather than sharing the mic and or developing and creating new mics.  But I digress; just keep that in mind, Kee-fee.  It’s in your hands, not your ego.  I’m watching, but I am sure other folks are watching too with what you do with this new power to create, and I am willing to give you time.

Otherwise, I am really glad that Keith Olbermann is back, and I wish him well.  Hopefully, within the next few months, I’ll be able to say that Current TV is on Charter and that I will be watching his show avidly.

~ by blksista on June 20, 2011.

5 Responses to “Keith Olbermann Returns Tonight With “Countdown” at Current TV, But Many Cable Companies Don’t Carry It. Why Not? (w/Update)”

  1. Keith, on August 22nd you showed and read a report on TV shortening viewers’ lives. It included statements that claimed that watching 6-hrs a day would take 5 years off a life but watching only 2 hrs a day would take of 7 years. This doesn’t make any sense. Watching less takes more years off???


  2. I agree about not poaching into Maddows domain. I was disappointed the 1st week to not watch the end of ‘Countdown’…but he had his hour. He isn’t doing this on his 2nd lesson learned?…I’m not black..but, I could certainly use a dose of Cornell West… I could sit and listen to him read a telephone book. Dyson? he a MSNBC guy?…Color is never a bad idea.


  3. I think it will be just a matter of time before Olbermann ticks off the Current TV folks and he’s back on the market. He has a history of it. And for him to turn around and try to go off on Maddow is a trip. She is the only one out of the entire lineup of left-leaning folks that i can tolerate on an occasional basis. The rest are prone to go way, way out left–too left for me (i’m an independent).


    • Sorry, but to me, “independent” means conservative or libertarian, none of whom have my respect at this moment.


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