Al Gore's TV Network Firing 80 People Due to Wild Success

Current Media said it would shed 80 people, confirming earlier reports, and will make its unconventional format more boringly traditional. This might sound bad. But the San Francisco cable network assures us it is evidence of amazing success!

Current announced it will eliminate 80 jobs while shifting away from its trademark short-form video packages and "towards proven 30-60 minute formats" from more outside sources. This would mean less video production in Current's Bay Area home base, as reported previously by former Valleywagger Jackson West at NBC Bay Area.

Which means everything is totally awesome and on track, according to a Current press release:

This re-organization was not the result of a need to cut costs. Current Media will have its most profitable year. This financial stability will allow the company to re-allocate resources in order to put further emphasis on areas of the business believed to best position Current Media for continued long-term growth.

Financial stability leads to sad job layoffs glorious resource re-allocation, gotcha. More good news: Current journalists no longer have to travel all the way to North Korea to hear propagandist doublespeak!

UPDATE: Current COO Joanna Drake Earl said in an interview that the layoffs hit San Francisco and Los Angeles offices the hardest; and while the firings were not "driven by a need to cut costs," they will indeed result in a net reduction of costs.

She added that "It's always a very sad day to eliminate positions" but that the layoffs were "about being a good media company listening to our consumers... any media company in the business of show production is... watching the dial" in terms of results and adjusting as necessary.Indeed, it sometimes seems like Current is becoming more like the traditional media companies it was intended to serve as counterprogramming against, what with the outsourcing of production, devotion to "consumer" feedback (like ratings!) and layoff rounds.

But Earl said the company remains "very committed" to audience contributions, albeit in "different ways" than through collecting short-form videos, a format now dominated by YouTube and "somewhat confusing" to viewers anyway, according to Earl. Not all short shows have been eliminated; some, like Vanguard Journalism, have actually been lengthened.

So maybe Current TV can grow with its hippie, San Francisco soul intact. That's going to mean acting more like ruthless capitalist media barons. But it's probably the best hope for the remaining employees at the all-too-baffling (and all too obscure) cable network.

(Pic: Gore at a Current TV event last year. By Simone Brunozzi.)