Current TV founder and CEO Joel Hyatt showed up to the Bill Press radio program this morning and made a splash. Hyatt flew in from Current’s home base in San Francisco to give Press moral support on day one of the network broadcasting his radio show on TV. FishbowlDC was there and spent a few minutes chatting with Hyatt.
Dressed in a blue-jean hued suit, Hyatt arrived on the tail end of Press’s program, claiming jet lag.
Press and fellow lefty radio personality Stephanie Miller are Current TV’s first foray into the daytime live talk game. And Hyatt is promising more surprise announcements on the horizon. “Quite candidly, we were dead in the morning,” Hyatt tells us. “Now we’re very much alive. ”
Then the CEO went full bore on the other networks. “There are only three competitors, and they are all vulnerable,” he declared.
He called MSNBC “inauthentic,” CNN “victimized” by its own legacy as a “news” network and Fox News at best an “infotainment” network. “They are liberal by accident,” Hyatt said of MSNBC, adding that the network is a “confused, inauthentic brand” that is supported for their ratings and not their views. “It’s just not a real brand.” He also said CNN has “lost its way” in terms of its identity.
Current TV, on the other hand, is the real deal, he said, insisting, “We’re liberal because of who we are.”
While reluctant to discuss any network controversy surrounding the network’s “brilliant” star broadcaster Keith Olbermann, Hyatt said the recent debacle involving Olbermann being yanked off campaign coverage was nothing more than “just a big distraction.” He acknowledged that more was made of the recent flap than was necessary.
Apart from Olbermann, another sore spot for Current: the cracks on how it is the network no one can find. Hyatt insists this bad rap is changing. On the Dish network Current TV is right next to the Weather Channel. But he admits it hasn’t been easy. On XFinity, the system run by Comcast, a majority owner of NBCU, it is still hard to find. “Increasingly more and more people are finding it,” Hyatt says, adding, “It’s very hard to start a new media network.”
Further reading: So What Do You Do Joel Hyatt? See mediabistro’s recent interview with the CEO.