Current TV plans bigger presence in Washington

Joel Hyatt, the CEO of Current TV, is turning the nature of cable news — that is, to beat the other guys to the story — on its head.

In a chat with ITK following the Monday debut of the channel’s new morning news block, which features live simulcasts of “The Bill Press Show” and “The Stephanie Miller Show,” Hyatt revealed that the progressive cable network, which reaches 60 million homes, will emphasize analyzing the news, not breaking it.

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The business mogul and former lawyer, who lost a 1994 Senate bid to replace his retiring father-in-law, Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio), says Current TV won’t try to compete with the other three stations to be the first to report news. Instead, according to Hyatt, it might be “14 seconds behind,” but with thoughtful and thorough analysis.

That doesn’t mean that viewers shouldn’t expect the station, which was revamped last year, to throw up a “breaking news” banner when something big happens. Hyatt exclaims with a laugh, “That’s a part of cable news!”

Hyatt makes no bones about the fact that Current TV, which he created with former Vice President Gore, is a left-leaning operation. But, he says, pundits and talking heads are free to offer their thoughts without hesitation.

He says the channel would like to develop a greater presence in Washington and will be introducing more new programs in the future.

When asked whom he’d like viewers to associate with the network, whether it be hot-tempered host Keith Olbermann or Cenk Uygur of “The Young Turks,” Hyatt replies that all of the talent are “like his children,” before adding, “And you’re not going to get me to pick a favorite!”