Al Jazeera U.S. Cabler Hires CNN Anchor Ali Velshi

Hire marks high-profile move to fledgling news outlet

In a signal a new cable-news outlet backed by overseas interests intends to vie for viewers and, possibly, advertisers with U.S. rivals, Al Jazeera America said Thursday it had lured CNN on-air personality Ali Velshi to develop and host a nightly prime time business news program.

Velshi, who had been with Time Warner’s CNN since 2001, said in a prepared statement that he was “thrilled” to join the fledgling outlet, expected to launch in 2013.

Al Jazeera America is being built out of the remains of Current, the now defunct cable perch backed by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. Gore and the network’s other backers sold Current in January. Al Jazeera has been trying for years to establish a U.S. foothold but has not had much success in securing full commitments from major cable and satellite distributors.

Velshi’s new program will initially launch in a weekly format but is expected to move to a five-days-a-week schedule by the end of 2013. It will be 30 minutes in length.

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