Al Jazeera ia a 24-hour English-language channel and broadcasts news features and analysis, documentaries, live debates, current affairs, business and technology.
The creation of Al Jazeera America was announced on January 2, 2013, along with the announcement that the network had purchased the user generated content channel turned progressive-oriented pay television channel Current TV, which had long been struggling in the ratings and after two format changes had announced in October 2012 that it was considering a sale of the channel. It was reported that Al Jazeera planned on shutting down Current TV, keeping its production staff and possibly some programs, and using the company’s distribution network to broadcast Al Jazeera America.Current TV, by coincidence, was formerly Newsworld International, an international news channel similar to Al Jazeera America run by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
On July 22, 2013, Al Jazeera America named former ABC News Vice President Kate O’Brian as president of the network, and Ehab Al Shihabi as interim CEO in charge of business affairs. In addition, former CNN veteran David Doss was named Vice President of News Programming and former CBS News executive Marcy McGinnis was named Vice President of News Gathering. Former MSNBC executive Shannon High-Bassalik was named Senior Vice President of Documentaries and Programs.
AlJazeera said it received more than 21,000 job applications for 400 positions at its U.S. network. Approximately 200 Current TV employees, including some 50 in editorial, were absorbed by the new operation. It planned to have a total of 800 employees at the channel’s launch. Al Jazeera America also announced that the channel would employ well-known veteran journalists, anchors, and producers.
On July 3, 2013, Ali Velshi confirmed that Al Jazeera America’s launch would take place on August 20, 2013. The launch took place at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time on that date, with an hour-long preview special entitled This is Al Jazeera. News coverage began immediately afterward at 4:00 p.m. Al Jazeera America’s website launched on August 8, 2013.