AJAM anchor Ali Velshi has been in the news a good deal recently as his network seeks to calm an internal disaster that started with a hostile workplace environment lawsuit and has led to the CEO, Ehab Al Shihabi, being demoted. Velshi’s name has been in the spotlight as a New York Times report revealed that his sharp questioning of the now former CEO led to Shihabi going on the newsroom floor and saying that Velshi would be sued into bankruptcy.
In light of all of this, we have decided to take a trip down on memory lane with Ali Velshi and Al Jazeera America.
April 3, 2013: News breaks that Velshi will be leaving CNN, where he has been an anchor and Chief Business Correspondent for twelve years. At the time, it is unknown where Velshi is going next, but he says, “it appeals to my entrepreneurial side.”
April 4, 2013: It is announced that Velshi would be joining the not yet launched Al Jazeera America. He is the first major personality announced and the network also says that Velshi will host a weekly, half hour series that will eventually become a daily program. This series will be known as Real Money. In the press release, Al Shihabi said, “We are thrilled to secure Ali’s extraordinary talents and services. Al Jazeera America will be bringing respected, independent reporting to its viewers and that’s exactly the type of coverage Ali Velshi is known for.”
August 5, 2013: The network announces three journalists whose main assignment is to contribute to Velshi’s show, Real Money with Ali Velshi.Patricia Sabga, Duarte Geraldino and Stacey Tisdale.
August 14, 2013: AJAM announces the schedule for the network. Real Money is scheduled for 7 PM and the press release says it will air Monday through Friday, despite an earlier press release saying the show would initially be weekly.
August 20, 2013: Al Jazeera America launches. Ratings are low for the network, yet Velshi’s show is the highlight. His show brings in 54,000 total viewers, a network high for the day, despite his show coming on at 7 PM. Typically, primetime is where the highest ratings come in television.
April 21, 2014: Real Money with Ali Velshi expands to one hour each weeknight.
January 2015: Real Money is rescheduled to 10:30 PM, but reduced to thirty minutes.
April 16, 2015: Al Jazeera America announces that Real Money will be replaced by Ali Velshi On Target, to air at 10:30 PM.
May 6, 2015: The New York Times reports on the troubles with Al Jazeera America. They report that Velshi had pointed questions for Al Shihabi in an employee town hall and Al Shihabi was unhappy about that. When Velshi was not present, Al Shihabi reportedly went into the newsroom and threatened Velshi with lawsuits and said of Velshi, “He’s finished here.” Velshi responded to the reports by saying, “To hear that public threats of litigation and of bankrupting me have been made, if true, is disheartening and deeply troubling.”
May 8, 2015: Seeking to reaffirm Velshi’s position at the network as blogs, such as FTVLive, report that Velshi is looking at returning to CNN, the network goes through another round of publicity for Ali Velshi on Target. Some media journalists take this as new news, even though it had been announced the previous month.
May 11, 2015: Ali Velshi On Target debuts.