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May 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Joel Hyatt

The co-founder of Current TV claims that just two weeks before News Corp’s Sky Italia canceled the channel, he met with the channel’s CEO, Tom Mockridge, and was told then that there would be no problem with renewing its distribution deal. In an interview with Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Joel Hyatt remarked, “One week Mockridge was telling me ‘let’s get this deal done’ then a few days later he rings to say actually ‘I’m not renewing you at all’. We then learnt from a senior executive at Fox that we’ve been dropped because of an order from News Corporation.” Hyatt’s remarks come one week after Al Gore, the former U.S. vice president and currently chairman of Current TV, said that he had learned the channel was being canceled because it was about to launch a show with liberal commentator Keith Olbermann. News Corp maintains that it is dropping the channel because Current was demanding a huge hike in carriage fees despite the fact that primetime viewing for the channel has dropped some 40 percent since last year. Hyatt claims that while Current did indeed ask for a raise, News Corp responded by demanding that Current cut its fee by two-thirds. Said Hyatt: “The offer they made was a sham offer, purely to suggest they were engaged in negotiations when in fact they were not.”