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Jennifer Granholm Says Current TV Show Will be 'Entertaining' But 'Thoughtful'

Jennifer Granholm
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Current co-founder and former Vice President Al Gore also will contribute to key election coverage for the network.

NEW YORK -- Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm promised a “hot” show when  The War Room bows on Current in the 9 p.m. time slot immediately following Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

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“It’s going to be hot in the sense that I think people will want to watch,” said Granholm during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday.

But Granholm and Current president David Bohrman cautioned that her program – which premieres in January – will not be dominated by charged partisan rhetoric.

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“We want it to be entertaining, but we also want it to be very thoughtful,” said the former Democratic governor. “I’m progressive but I’ve also had to be a pragmatic governor. It will be a blend of temperatures, but hopefully the show will be a hot show.”

“It’s not going to be Crossfire with people sniping at each other every 30 seconds,” added Bohrman, referring to the now-defunct CNN program. “It’s not going to be people battling each other with talking points.”

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The addition of Granholm fills out Current’s primetime political lineup with Countdown as the 8 p.m. linchpin and Young Turks radio host Cenk Uygur premiering in the 7 p.m. slot in November. And with the 2012 presidential primaries drawing closer, Current co-founder and chairman Al Gore will have a bigger presence on the network. Gore hs already appeared on Countdown. But Bohrman confirmed that he'll contribute more regularly to election coverage.

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"I’m certainly going to invite him and urge him and twist his arm as much as I can," said Brohrman.

Added Joel Hyatt, Currrent CEO, who co-founded the network with Gore: “As we have transitioned our programming lineup on the strength of Countdown with Keith Olbermann to move into much more political analysis than Current previously did, there’s no better person to put on air than Al Gore. You’re talking about someone who went through four political campaigns. He’s an enormously valuable asset.”

Bohrman said that he and Hyatt and Gore first met with Granholm a couple months ago and were immediately struck by her television presence. And Gore went even further, extolling her political chops and suggesting that if it weren’t for the providence of Granholm’s birth in Vancouver, British Columbia (her family moved to the United States when she was a child), she would be in a very different position today.

“She is unique,” said Gore. “I sincerely believe that if she had not been born in Canada she would have been a leading candidate for President of the United States and very possibly would have been the first woman president of the United States. I know that sounds over the top. But she has a keen insight.”

Granholm is only the latest recovering politician to segue to cable news; former Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee has had a weekend show on Fox News since 2008 and Al Sharpton hosts the 6 p.m. hour on MSNBC. And a steady stream of current and former politicos, including Sarah Palin (Fox News) and former RNC chairman Michael Steele (MSNBC) are regular contributors. Granholm also appears on NBC’s Meet the Press, and she’ll continue to do so.

The War Room will be heavy on presidential candidate coverage but also will highlight lesser known politicians via a “New Faces 2012” segment. Additional regular segments will include “By The Numbers” – a daily analysis of polls in key states – and "Campaign InfoMania" – which will have comedian Brett Erlich satirizing campaign trail highlights and lowlights. 

The program will air live from Current's headquarters in San Francisco. Granholm will continue to teach at the University of California Berkley School of Law and the Goldman School of Public Policy. But she will resign board positions at Dow Chemical and Marinette Marine Corporation.