Current TV, Al Gore's Public Access Channel
“I love Current TV.” This was a phrase I said a ton from about 2006 to very recently. When the network abandoned their heavy focus on user created content a few years ago, it began to consistently fall further and further down my list of most-viewed TV. I still tuned in for info_Mania, a show created by the creator of the Daily Show, and a few Vanguard documentaries—besides this, however, I lost interest.Putting the power of TV creation in the hands of the fantastic online community over at Current.TV (now Current.com) was revolutionary and the channel proved to be a vibrant mix of humour, news, and short-form documentaries. All of the content was limited to 5-10 minutes and the network featured a progress bar in the bottom left of the screen.It was all quite informative, quickly paced, and the idea that anyone could produce content that had a chance of airing on TV was earth shattering—except it wasn’t. Slowly, the channel began to expand into the area of more traditional shows. The peak of this was definitely the Yahoo! Current show that eventually became info_Manai. The deepest darkest valley of Current’s long-form shows consisted of extreme sports highlight packed together in a versy SpikeTV kind of way.Then last year happened and Keith Olbermann was looking for a new home. That new home would eventually be announced at Current. I was excited for the move. I had watched Olbermann on MSNBC and enjoyed the flippant, bombastic take on the day’s political news.Then I actually saw his show on Current. It was unwatchable. The cameras and lighting seemed sub par to even the simple broadcasts achieved by TWiT.tv (who, I can assure you, spent less money than was spent on Countdown). I flipped over to Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNC and immediately realized that Current was certainly not a modern network. The graphics package was terrible and the set looked like it was designed by the high school drama student. On top of this, it was painfully being brodcast in SD.The horrible production values are even more apparent during special election coverage. Cenk Uygur anchors this coverage from what appears to be his mom’s basement with Al Gore by his side. Worse yet, the logo for the coverage appears to have been generated by the GIMP app in 1998.It is all very distracting from their shows—especially given how slick Vanguard is on the very same network. Can it be fixed? Definitely. Will they fix it? I have no idea. The channel has so much potential and I would reall like to see it given enough dedication and investments to prevail.