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Posted at 5:30 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

Olbermann to Current TV? Has he met the neighbors?

By Alexandra Petri

keitholbermann2.JPG (Image via Peter Kramer/AP)

Keith Olbermann is going off the air. I'm sorry, I mean, "moving to Current TV."

I feel almost bad for him.

Yes, Current TV reaches 90 million households. But so does the USPS, and that wouldn't make switching to it a positive career move for Olbermann.

As a vitriolic MSNBC host, Olbermann was mocked by "SNL" and castigated by Jon Stewart. On Current TV, anything he does will be monitored, rapt, by an audience of maybe six goldfish whose owners thought that CSPAN was making them too rowdy. At least on CSPAN there might be a bad breakup during an interview with rising conservative intellectuals.

What is there on Current TV?

Well, there's "infoMania", which is, according to its website, "a weekly half-hour satirical show that puts a comedic spin on the 24/7 media overload" -- so, similar to "The Daily Show," in the sense that when I talk to myself in the shower for half an hour about topical events, that is also similar to the Daily Show, although I think someone might actually be watching me shower. I hope this move changes things for the folks behind "infoMania." They seem cool, at least based on the four-minute video of one of them buying porn from a Craigslist ad that I watched until my cubicle mate said it was disrupting his workday.

There's something called (Dave Barry is not making this up) "Kill It, Cook It, Eat It," which links you to a video titled (again, not making this up) "Pig Castration for Maximum Flavor." It's as if Current TV is actively trying to discourage anyone from watching it, ever!

There's also a show called "SWAT: Miami Dade", and a documentary series titled "Vanguard", both of which look all right. And a televised version of "This American Life" whose most recent episode featured a 14-year-old boy deciding that love is not for him. And a show with Ewan McGregor and his best friend Charley riding motorcycles around the world. Welcome, Keith!

And don't forget "Bar Karma", premiering this Friday, about a bar called Bar Karma, "a mystical watering hole traveling through time and space, pops into its patrons' lives when they need more than a stiff drink. Every happy hour, the Bar Karma staff guides one lost soul through a crossroads in his or her life, using glimpses of the past, present and many possible futures." This was created by Will Wright, of "The Sims" fame, and someone else, of "Spongebob Squarepants" fame -- a merger that sounds as if it were designed by the same guy responsible for AOL + HuffingtonPost -- and it might revolutionize television. But then again, it might not.

"Bar Karma" allows you, the user, to generate the show you would like to watch. At least, this is what it would do if "Bar Karma" were the show anyone would like to watch. I'm not saying it's not, but "Bar Karma" has fewer Twitter followers than I do, and that takes real effort. I frequently make terrible puns, and I reach nowhere near 90 million households, unless I am trying to get to Utah and the Mapquest directions are not very specific.

This is like Conan's move to TBS, but infinitely sadder, because sometimes you actually watch TBS because a friend of yours is on "Glory Daze", and he's a good guy.

But what a move -- from MSNBC to Current TV, the network run by Al Gore, America's most famous public ineffectual! This is, of course, anecdotal, but have you ever met anyone who admitted to watching Current TV? I haven't! Regular Current TV viewers are like Yetis. I don't believe they exist.

Maybe Keith Olbermann can change that. But right now, if he makes a controversial comment on Current TV, I'm not fully convinced it will make a sound.

By Alexandra Petri  | February 8, 2011; 5:30 PM ET
Categories:  Epic Failures, Petri, Reality? Television  | Tags:  Keith Olbermann, oops, tv  
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Current TV? 90 million households? Is Al Gore writing these press releases?

Hey Kool-Aid drinkers, the Super Bowl posted the best result ever with "only" 111 million households. Who's thumb is on this scale?

Current TV sounds like the Island of Misfit Toys. It will be a pleasure to never run across Olbermann by accident while channel surfing the cable tiers; it sounds like trying to find absinthe in a liquor store.

Posted by: ascpgh1 | February 8, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Pretty funny stuff, Miss Princess Perfect Petri! You're definitely in the running for today's Worst Person in the (small) Wuuurld. How dare you insult Olbermann the magnificent. How DARE you, madam!

I'll have to admit that Keith is playing Oddball with this move. So far, the most successful fired newsman moving to cable has been Dan Rather, who moved to the ..uh.. channel.

I don't think anyone is going to watch Olbermann on the currant channel. I mean, how many ways can you make jelly out of one berry? You pick it, cook it, and eat it. That's one show at the most.

There's only one chance for Olbermann to get noticed. He should move to The Sarah PalinĀ® Channel.

Posted by: divtune | February 8, 2011 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Its not surprising that many people have not heard of Current TV.

I most familiar with Current TV's amazing documentary series, Vanguard TV. I caught a few episodes on hulu (they are streaming for free) last year and Current runs a series of investigative reports that are similar to PBS's Frontline series. You can check to see whether they are still offered online. They're pretty good.

Also, last year Current TV was in the news after President Clinton flew to North Korea to secure the release of Laura Ling from imprisonment brought her back to the United States.

Either way, if Olbermann's show is streamed on Hulu like Vanguard then I imagine Current TV will get an increase in viewership and publicity.

Posted by: asterax | February 8, 2011 7:26 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, but Olbermann had some pretty freaky neighbors on MSNBC as well: "Lockup" prison documentaries, Sunday night "To Catch a Predator" marathons, "Caught on Camera" (tru-TV Lite), Big Ed Schulz with his 'hot buttons', and hell--let's just say it--Chris Matthews, a man who feels the need to book guests on his show solely to have someone there to watch him ask and answer his own questions.

Posted by: ComfortablyDumb | February 8, 2011 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Current TV is the only independent TV network out there. Is our programming the norm? No, but that's what makes it interesting.

Kill It, Cook It, and Eat It, is a BBC produced show that is actually quite good. In a society where most of our food comes in a bag, a jar or a can, it's refreshing to both see what happens to the animals we slaughter, and what real food looks like before we turn it into the typical western diet.

infoMania is actually far different from the Daily Show. I think you might like it, if you try it. But yes, maybe the one clip you watched might not be one that suited your humor palate. Give it another try...

Long Way Round is a fascinating trip around the world. Truly, jump into our community and ask... Or, if you don't trust our community, do a quick search on Amazon and read the 4.5 star reviews given by the several hundred people that reviewed it.

Vanguard has won the Peabody and an Emmy. It's amazing.

As an employee, I'm biased, I know, but I hope you'll give Current another look-see. I would bet you'd find at least 2-3 programs that will addict you, which is more than I can say for most networks.

Robyn Tippins
Community Lead,

Posted by: duzins | February 8, 2011 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Still carrying that grudge around Dana?

Posted by: wellbean | February 8, 2011 8:46 PM | Report abuse

So, Alexandra Petri, Seriously. I would bet that more people will be watching Keith's show than will be reading your column. I'm looking forward to it. Keith's show, that is.

Posted by: Jen27 | February 8, 2011 9:43 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't matter what's on Current TV now. What matters is where Keith Olbermann's show is. His viewers will follow him even if his platform is the Home Shopping Network. He helped us get through the Bush years and we don't forget.

This will make Current TV the next big thing.

Posted by: Dema | February 9, 2011 12:22 AM | Report abuse

Keith Olbermann is not Dan Rather. Keith has a humorous and passionate personality. In addition, times are much different with Twitter, Facebook, etc to pass the word about Keith on current TV.

Keith has the potential to take current TV from almost unknown to well-known. I am betting on a big success for Keith!

Posted by: JimWalsh1 | February 9, 2011 1:09 AM | Report abuse

Wow, a list of over-mean reactions to shows the writer has not seen. Perhaps the Washington Post should create a new position, someone who, I don't know, reads over content and decides if it has any reason to be printed. They could call it "editor."

Posted by: goodthunder | February 9, 2011 11:58 AM | Report abuse

He moved from a station everybody heard of and few watched to a station that few have hear of and nobody watches.
Was anyone watching him anyway?

Posted by: flyover22 | February 9, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

OK, forget Olbermann. There's really important breaking news!

Romania is cracking down on witches!

Posted by: divtune | February 9, 2011 1:13 PM | Report abuse

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