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Al Jazeera America Shrugs Off Tiny Ratings

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AL JAZEERA AMERICA
Joie Chen, host of the new Al Jazeera America nightly news program America Tonight, sits at the anchor desk in the network's studio space at the Newseum in Washington, DC, August 16, 2013. Al Jazeera America, a cable news network set to launch on August 20, will have 12 bureaus in major cities in the US, three broadcast centers, a headquarters in New York City, and around 900 journalists and staff. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images) | Getty

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — As it approaches its first birthday, Al Jazeera America anchor Tony Harris says he's surprised by how good the network is.

The journalistic performance of the network hasn't been reflected by its audience size, though. Viewership remains very low.

But like Harris, network President Kate O'Brian voiced confidence on Tuesday that viewers will catch up with it. She called its corporate parents — the Qatar-based Al Jazeera Media Network — "extremely supportive" and in it for the long run.

Al Jazeera America, which launched on Aug. 20, 2013, has marketed itself as a hard-news and documentary network without a political slant and little interest in fluff.

Harris and O'Brian made the comments during the summer television critics' tour.

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Contact Frazier Moore at http://twitter.com/tvfrazier