Report: Al Jazeera Finalizing Deal to Acquire Current TV

A few months ago, Michael Wolff wondered in the pages of USA TODAY – “Who Will Buy Al Gore’s Current TV?” He concluded that an Internet behemoth like The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed or even College Humor might make sense.

But according to a report this afternoon by New York Times media columnist Brian Stelter, the most interested party has turned out to be from far beyond our country’s borders, Web or otherwise:

Rather than simply use Current to distribute its English-language channel, called Al Jazeera English and based in Doha, Qatar, Al Jazeera will create a new channel based in New York, according to people with knowledge of the deal negotiations. The channel may be called Al Jazeera America. Roughly 60 percent of the programming will be produced in the United States, while the remaining 40 percent will come from Al Jazeera English.

This seems like a potentially great fit, but it’s bad news for those associated with Current’s original programming. Sources tell Stelter present shows would be wiped away in the spring and that likely only a small portion of present employees would be absorbed.

Stelter subsequently tweeted that he expected the deal to close today and went on to update his item with that confirmation. Meanwhile, Jeff Bercovici at Forbes did the math and suggests that even without Time Warner Cable signing off on the transaction, the deal could still be worth about $400 million. He’s also got the full Joel Hyatt memo to Current employees.