Who’s Got More Subs, Current TV or MSNBC?

By Chris Ariens Comment

There’s a war of words going on between Keith Olbermann’s former network, MSNBC, and the channel that hired him yesterday, Current TV. During a conference call announcing Olbermann’s hire, former VP Al Gore, a founder of Current, claimed, “We have more subscribers today than MSNBC had when Keith Olbermann began working for them” in 2003. LATimes’ show tracker blog picks up the fracas from there:

MSNBC, whose management had clashed repeatedly with Olbermann prior to his exit, cried foul, with a spokesman citing Nielsen Co. data that shows MSNBC had 78.4 million subscribers in 2003.

Alerted to the network’s claim, an Olbermann rep fired back by pointing to “The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network & Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present,” a commonly used reference book, which says that only 74% of those subscribers were in the U.S., which could conceivably give Current a slight edge.

“I don’t know what he’s talking about,” the MSNBC spokesman replied.

Let the fighting begin continue. As of January 2011  MSNBC has 95 million domestic subscribers. Current TV has 58.2 million. By the way, Comcast, which now owns the network Olbermann left, owns 10% of the company he’s joining.