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Current TV CEO Mark Rosenthal steps down

July 28, 2011 |  4:42 pm


Al Gore's struggling cable channel, Current TV, witnessed an inconvenient truth: It has trouble keeping executives.

On Thursday, the 6-year-old cable network announced the departure of Mark Rosenthal, its chief executive for the last two years. 

Current TV co-founder Joel Hyatt once again steps into the role of CEO. Hyatt launched the channel, now available in about 75 million homes, with the former vice president in 2005. At the time, their goal was not to create a political channel but rather to borrow a page from social media sites to appeal to the Generation X crowd with culturally relevant programming.

During his tenure, Rosenthal attempted to reduce overhead costs to shore up Current TV's finances and improve relations with cable and satellite distributors. He steered the channel away from short-form programming submitted by viewers, which failed to attract audiences. 

Last month, the network added liberal commentor Keith Olbermann to its prime-time roster in a bid for greater recognition and clout.  Now Current is focused on news and analysis, which it called "a solid foundation for growth."

"These results helped pave the way for Current's recently successful launch of 'Countdown With Keith Olbermann' and the network's major strategic shift to become a political commentary and news analysis network with a clear, progressive point of view," the network said in a statement.

Rosenthal -- a former head of MTV and former CEO of advertising firm Interpublic Media --  was not immediately available for comment.


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-- Meg James

Photo: President Clinton and Current TV co-founder Al Gore welcome Current TV reporters Euna Lee and Laura Ling back to the U.S. in 2009. The reporters were detained for five months in North Korea. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times