Al Jazeera America Comes into Focus

By Steinberg, Brian | Variety, April 9, 2013 | Go to article overview

Al Jazeera America Comes into Focus


Steinberg, Brian, Variety


HIRING SPREE

Here comes Al Jazeera America. The nascent all-news câbler has recruited CNN vet Ali Velshi as its first major on-air name since its parent company struck a $500 million deal to acquire Current TV in January.

There are many more hires to come. The deep-pocketed Al Jazeera org has committed to bringing on 700 staffers and opening 12 bureaus around the country, as well as a Gotham headquarters, to support the launch of its English-lingo net. Among the industryites onboard is Tony Fox, a longtime Viacom PR exec, who is serving as a consultant.

The timing of Al Jazeera America's debut is still in flux, given all the behindthe-scenes activity, but the goal is to launch this year. The new regime is in the process of winding down Current TV's programming and talent commitments.

Velshi, formerly CNN's chief business correspondent, will develop a half-hour business news program for the channel. The show will bow in a weekly format and expand to five nights a week by year's end. …

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