News network Al Jazeera America is shutting down after just two-and-a-half years on air, it was announced on Wednesday. The channel will be down for good by April. The channel was bogged by low ratings and an "exodus" of top executives. Recently, the network came under fire for a disputed report alleging that NFL star Peyton Manning used performance-enhancing drugs.
Al Jazeera America went on the air in August 2013 after it bought Al Gore’s Current TV for $500 million. It promised to be thoughtful and smart, free of the shouting arguments that have defined cable news in the United States over the last decade. But meaningful viewership never came, with prime-time ratings sometimes struggling to exceed 30,000 viewers.
To make matters worse, the newsroom was hit with turmoil last year when staff members complained bitterly of a culture of fear. There was an exodus of top executives, along with a pair of lawsuits from former employees that included complaints about sexism and anti-Semitism at the news channel.
In May, Ehab Al Shihabi, the chief executive of Al Jazeera America, was replaced by Mr. Anstey. Morale improved in the following months but ratings remained low.
Al Jazeera America came into existence after the network purchased Al Gore's failed cable channel, Current TV.