Current TV has found a lead-in for “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” and it will be a another familiar face for MSNBC viewers.
The channel has inked a deal with Cenk Uygur to bring his “The Young Turks” web series to the network as a new 7 PM program. The program will be based out of Los Angeles, and will debut in the fourth quarter of this year. Uygur left MSNBC earlier this year after the network wanted to move him off of the 6 PM time period and into another role.
“Countdown” has struggled in the ratings recently at Current, though that shouldn’t be a surprise as the network has far less distribution than its competition, and it also has far less prominent channel placement. Another major factor is that “Countdown” is something of an island, a live nightly public affairs show without any companions to serve as a lead-in or lead-out. The addition of Uygur adds that lead-in, and the next step is to find that lead-out.
Current is expected to add a 9 PM program to its lineup by January.
“Cenk and ‘The Young Turks’ are unlike anything on TV now. ‘The Young Turks’ on Current will be a really fresh take on politics and pop culture,” said Current TV president David Bohrman in a statement. “All of The Young Turks will offer a range of perspectives. Cenk is the perfect host to drive a multi-screen experience for today’s tech savvy, social media-minded audience, and he has an inherent understanding of how to engage, mobilize, entertain and enlighten this new kind of news viewer.”
The official announcement:
CENK UYGUR TO LAUNCH “THE YOUNG TURKS” ON CURRENT TV
Popular, Outspoken Commentator With Huge Following To Host 7 p.m. Show Monday Through Friday Starting in Fourth Quarter
September 20, 2011 – Award-winning Current TV will bring the wildly popular and informative host Cenk Uygur to its network in a primetime slot to host “The Young Turks;” Uygur’s uniquely progressive and topical show about politics and pop culture, each week night at 7 p.m. ET.
Current will work with Uygur and his team to launch an original television version of “The Young Turks” – which is the world’s largest online news show. “The Young Turks,” led by Uygur, are a group of progressive, outspoken journalists and commentators, whose daily “TYT Network” shows on YouTube have built a fast-growing, loyal network of viewers. The TV show on Current will be produced from Los Angeles-based studios and will launch in the fourth quarter of this year.
Uygur, who recently anchored “MSNBC Live” at 6 p.m. ET, helped deliver that program’s strongest viewership among the 25-54 demographic and in total viewers since the show’s launch. Uygur has built a massive audience, who tune in for and expect his independent, courageous and often-controversial point of view each week night. “The Young Turks” online video segments now generate 30 million views per month and have racked up more than 500 million video views, making “The Young Turks” the most successful political commentary channel on YouTube. The viewership of “The Young Turks” on YouTube has grown 912% since July 2008.
“Cenk Uygur has a strong grasp of what audiences seek: context and insight about the news and complex issues that affect their lives, unfettered by corporate influences. He has a unique and compelling way of boiling it down for his viewers, ” said Current Chairman and co-founder Al Gore. “He and his collaborators have exploded in popularity because of ‘The Young Turks’’ authentic and passionate voice. Cenk understands that we live in a multi-screen world, and he speaks to an audience who wants to hear the truth.”
Uygur commented: “Current is the perfect home for our show. We wanted to be in a place that is both independent and truly progressive, not owned and encumbered by a media conglomerate. Does it get any better for a progressive than working where Al Gore and Joel Hyatt are your bosses, and Keith Olbermann is your colleague? It’s an honor to be the lead-in program for Keith Olbermann. Add to that we will work with David Bohrman, who has been creating unique and great television programming for decades. His vision for Current is exactly in line with ours. When you bring all of these people together with ‘The Young Turks,’ watch out — we’re coming!”
“Getting a powerful voice like Cenk’s is a great addition to our network, and we look forward to having the enthusiastic, growing audience he has built for ‘The Young Turks’ follow him to Current TV. As we head into an election year, people are eager to hear voices like his, which can only be heard on an open, independent platform like Current,” said Joel Hyatt, Current CEO and the network’s co-founder. “Cenk brings a new audience to Current. We believe these viewers of ‘The Young Turks’ will come for Cenk and stay for Keith. And we think Cenk will offer something very compelling for the legion of loyal ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann’ viewers as well.”
“Cenk and ‘The Young Turks’ are unlike anything on TV now. ‘The Young Turks’ on Current will be a really fresh take on politics and pop culture,” said Current TV President David Bohrman. “All of The Young Turks will offer a range of perspectives. Cenk is the perfect host to drive a multi-screen experience for today’s tech savvy, social media-minded audience, and he has an inherent understanding of how to engage, mobilize, entertain and enlighten this new kind of news viewer.”
Cenk Uygur Biography
Cenk Uygur is host of “The Young Turks,” the first live, daily web television political and pop culture commentary show.
Uygur is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School of Business and Columbia University Law School. He worked as a lawyer, television writer and television host before starting “The Young Turks.” Uygur also contributes to “The Huffington Post,” “Daily Kos,” ABC News and “Politico.”
About The Young Turks
“The Young Turks” is the largest online news show in the world, covering politics, pop culture and lifestyle. The show is one of the Top 50 You Tube Partners, with over 30 million views a month and half a billion total video views on “The Young Turks” YouTube Channel.
“The Young Turks” have received numerous awards, including: a 2011 People’s Voice Webby Award for Best News & Politics: Series; a 2011 News/Politics Shorty Award; the Best Political Podcast Award, 2009; and The Best Political News Site at the 2009 Mashable Awards.
The Young Turks is the flagship show of the TYT Network, which includes What the Flick?!, TYT University, TYT Sports, TYT Interviews, TYT Shows and The Top Vlog.
About Current Media:
Current Media, the Peabody-and Emmy Award-winning television and online network founded in 2005 by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, features the very best in commentary and information programming. Home to the newly launched “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” as well as the celebrated documentary series “Vanguard,” Current is dedicated to providing insightful analysis of important issues – and digging deep into real stories to uncover how they affect real people. Current shines a light where other networks won’t dare and boldly explores provocative subjects – opening minds, sparking conversations and forming deep connections with its viewers. Current creates the commentary and delivers the independent, unexpected point-of-view our viewers want and need to hear. Current is media that matters.
Current is now available via cable and satellite TV in 71 million households worldwide – 60 million in the US – through distribution partners Comcast (Channel 107); Time Warner; DirecTV (Channel 358 nationwide); Dish Network (Channel 196 nationwide); Verizon and AT&T. In the UK and Ireland, Current is available on BSkyB (Channel 183) and Virgin Media (Channel 155). Viewers can also find Current online at www.current.com.