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He went where? Keith Olbermann's move to Current TV makes sense, for now.

Keith Olbermann's move from MSNBC to Current TV, co-founded by Al Gore, makes sense for both parties in the short term. It gives the tiny channel a boost and Olbermann a temporary home.

By By Gloria GoodaleStaff writer / February 9, 2011

In this May 3, 2007 file photo, Keith Olbermann of MSNBC poses at the Ronald Reagan Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

Mark J. Terrill/AP/File

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Los Angeles

Former MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann has surprised many with the announcement of his new perch – Current TV.

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Much like the general response to other media celebrity home-base moves – think Conan O’Brien’s hop from NBC to TBS and Dan Rather’s exit from CBS to HDNet – two common queries have been: “Where, exactly, is that?” and “Why?”

The channel, co-founded in 2005 by former presidential candidate Al Gore, is currently seen on a mix of outlets from Comcast to the Dish Satellite Network and officially airs in some 75 million homes around the globe. But actual viewership – as only very recently measured by Nielsen – is a tiny fraction of that, reportedly as low as 25,000.

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This acquisition makes perfect sense for Current, says Robert Thompson, founder of the Bleier Center of Television and Popular Culture at Syracuse University in New York. “Keith Olbermann has found a spot in the cultural zeitgeist,” he points out, a feat that puts him in a rare spot, wherever it may be. “What ‘South Park’ did for Comedy Central and what ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ did for Bravo,” he says, Mr. Olbermann can now do for Current TV.

Mr. Gore's comment in a Current press release Tuesday appeared consistent with that interpretation.

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