Al Jazeera America Heads Toward Sign-off

Al Jazeera America is signing off Tuesday night with a live broadcast airing from 6-9 p.m. ET and re-airing at 9 p.m. for West Coast viewers. Featured will be journalists who've been on the channel since it launched in 2013, revisiting subjects they have covered in that time, the network said.

AJAM, which launched using former Current TV channel locations after Al Jazeera Media bought Current for about $500 million, announced in January that it would close down this month, while continuing to report news on the site. Al Jazeera said Tuesday it plans to "expand its existing international digital services to broaden its multi-platform presence into the U.S. later this year."

The network's Qatari owners had ambitious efforts to build a nationwide news organization, hiring hundreds of journalists, some of whom left later via layoffs. The efforts met with respectful reviews (including this 2014 deep dive in Columbia Journalism Review) for serious coverage and investigative and documentary work, but never caught on with viewers. Distributors of the network, in about 60 million homes on top providers including Comcast, DirecTV and Time Warner Cable, are expected to reclaim the channel space — despite interest expressed early on by broadcasters including One America News Network parent Herring Broadcasting in buying the slots. 

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Kent Gibbons

Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.