Al Jazeera America launches today

Al Jazeera’s new US channel launches today, taking on existing news services such as CNN and MSNBC.

The launch follows Al Jazeera’s acquisition of Al Gore-backed Current TV at the beginning of the year. The channel will be available to close to 50 million US TV homes at launch thanks to Current TV’s carriage agreements.

The launch of the US channel will also see Al Jazeera withdraw its Al Jazeera English channel from the US market. The channel has struggled to win cable carriage but is currently available to about 4.7 million homes as well as online.

Al Jazeera America network will be distinct from the current Al Jazeera English channel and will include more domestic US news.

CEO Ehab al-Shihabi has promised Al Jazeera America will deliver “less opinion, less yelling and fewer celebrity sightings” than rival US news networks.