Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann Bet Big On Risky Moves

By Alex Weprin 

In Politico today, Keach Hagey looks at the big bets being made by outgoing Fox News host Glenn Beck and former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann as they test the waters outside of the traditional cable news channels.

Beck is starting his own web-based TV network called GBTV, while Olbermann is moving to Current TV.

Hagey notes that both Olbermann and Beck have hired former colleagues to work on their new ventures, and are seeking to avoid the interference that comes from working at a large media corporation, particularly in the case of Olbermann:

While he’s stopped short of saying he was censored, he’s made it clear that he doesn’t think corporations that have lots of other holdings can be responsible purveyors of information in the public interest.

Many of these problems are solved by Beck’s and Olbermann’s new platforms. Beck doesn’t have to worry about advertiser boycotts, because GBTV will be mostly subscription-based. And Olbermann doesn’t have to worry about corporate interference, because Current is one of only a handful of independently owned channels that are not part of some larger conglomerate.

Beck’s move is the bigger risk, since he is jumping into a totally new realm that Cheatwood acknowledged is perhaps “a little ahead of the game.”