Seeking to bolster its visibility, especially since the firing of signature name Keith Olbermann, Current TV is tapping an elected official for a talk show: California’s lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom.
Newsom will host the weekly “The Gavin Newsom Show,” which will have a “decidedly California touch,” with notables from Silicon Valley and Hollywood. The one-hour program will start in May.
When Newsom was mayor of San Francisco, he hosted a radio call-in show, focused on the city itself, but his Current gig appears to involve a much more expansive list of political and media topics.
Current already employs Jennifer Granholm, former governor of Michigan, with a nighttime show, and co-founder Al Gore has appeared as a pundit from time to time on the channel’s programming. But Newsom is still in office, something that is a bit unusual but not unprecedented. When he was governor of Minnesota, Jesse Ventura was a commentator on NBC’s efforts to start a new football league, the XFL. He came into some criticism for taking a gig while still serving in the state’s highest office.
“First as a successful entrepreneur, then in his role as Mayor of San Francisco, and now as Lieutenant Governor, Newsom touches many worlds – business, politics, entertainment and activism,” Gore said in a statement.
Update: Newsom has informed Current that he will donate his salary to charity, according to a spokeswoman for the cable channel.