I was just thinking yesterday, just how much I miss Keith Olbermann. I thought about the fanfare that would occur after his contractual hiatus was over. I imagined his fans would be waiting with baited breath to see “Olby” on the air again…somwhere.
Now it appears that fans like me may not have to wait the entire six months after all. We’ll see…
Earlier today we reported that Olbermann and partners were announcing big new plans tomorrow during a conference call. Given the reported non-compete clause on any television network, we surmised that Olbermann might be announcing some sort of Internet project. This theory was somewhat supported by a tip that pointed out that a simple whois search reveals that the domain names “theolbermannshow.com” and “thekeitholbermannshow.com” were registered January 19th, 2011, just two days before his last appearance on MSNBC. Turns out that it now looks like Olbermann will be returning to television, albeit one with a much, much smaller reach than MSNBC.
Keith Olbermann, the former top-rated host of “Countdown” on the news channel MSNBC, will announce his next television home on Tuesday, and people familiar with his plans pointed Monday to a possible deal with the public affairs channel Current TV.
Neither Mr. Olbermann, his representatives, or executives from Current TV would comment on the move, but they did not deny that the channel, which counts former Vice President Al Gore as one of its founders, will become at least one partner in Mr. Olbermann’s future media plans.
One of the people with knowledge of the plans said Mr. Olbermann would have an equity stake in Current TV. The people insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized by their employers to comment in advance of the official announcement.
On Monday a public relations agency hired by Mr. Olbermann scheduled a Tuesday morning conference call for an announcement about his next job. “He and his new partners will make an exciting announcement regarding the next chapter in his remarkable career,” the agency wrote in an e-mail.
Read the full report at the Media Decoder blog at NY Times.
There are some stories on the blogosphere that claim it was Comcast. Others claim that Keith resigned and still others claim that he was fired by MSNBC executives. We will undoubtedly hear the truth sooner or later.
KO had gone through about one-half of his $30 million 4-year contract when he was abruptly removed from the MSNBC line-up last night. according to reports about that contract, he will not be able to work any where else until the contract expires. More news from HuffPo…
UPDATE: The New York Times’ Bill Carter reports that Keith Olbermann’s exit from MSNBC was “weeks in the making.” According to Carter, Olbermann and MSNBC have both signed on to an agreement which bars Olbermann from returning to television for a period of time, though he is free to take a job on the Internet or the radio. Olbermann is also not allowed to comment publicly on the specifics of the deal, and there are restrictions on when he can give interviews about his departure.
Carter notes that the terms of the deal are similar to the one NBC struck with Conan O’Brien upon his exit from the network–exactly a year before Olbermann’s.
An MSNBC source told the New York Times‘ Brian Stelter that Olbermann’s exit was “all about what he did after the suspension.”
The network suspended Olbermann last November for donating to three Democratic candidates, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in Tucson January 8. The suspension brought Olbermann’s already volatile relationship with his bosses to a new low. Instead of apologizing for his actions and keeping quiet (as NBC executives would have liked), the host turned his silencing into a cause celebre, issuing a statement and apologizing to his viewers for “unnecessary drama.” As a result, MSNBC President Phil Griffin threatened to fire Olbermann if he went public with his grievances on other networks.
Whatever the reason for his departure, Olbermann leaves a strained and tense environment behind him, and MSNBC moved quickly to fill the hole in its schedule. Within minutes of the announcement, the network unveiled its restructured evening lineup. Lawrence O’Donnell, host of “The Last Word,” will move to 8 P.M., while “The Ed Show” with Ed Schultz will air at 10 P.M. Rachel Maddow’s program will remain in its 9 P.M. slot.
A source close to MSNBC management said network executives have grown increasingly impressed by O’Donnell and feel he has “grown into the job nicely.” According to the source, Schultz will play well with both the late night and West Coast audiences.
“The debut of the new lineup will be the State of the Union, with Lawrence now the central player,” the source said. More…
Keith Olbermann and MSNBC abruptly announced tonight that “Countdown” has ended, effective immediately.
Olbermann broke the news to his viewers during his show’s final sign-off (full video below). MSNBC issued a statement with the news following tonight’s episode. According to the New York Times, the host came to an agreement with NBC management late this week to step down. “Countdown” aired for just under eight years.
NBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines said the Comcast merger had nothing to do with the decision.
Within minutes of the announcement, MSNBC unveiled their restructured evening lineup. Lawrence O’Donnell, host of “The Last Word,” will move to 8 P.M., while “The Ed Show” with Ed Schultz will air at 10 P.M. Rachel Maddow’s program will remain in its original 9 P.M. slot.
A source close to MSNBC management said network executives have grown increasingly impressed by O’Donnell and feel he has “grown into the job nicely.” According to the source, Schultz will play well with both the late night and west coast audiences.
“The debut of the new lineup will be the State of the Union, with Lawrence now the central player,” the source said.
Another source close to the network’s management said that O’Donnell’s background in both politics and entertainment helps him. “O’Donnell is a liberal Democrat, but he is an inside player — a player — by nature, having worked on the Hill for Pat Moynihan and in Hollywood.”
Others believe “Hardball” host Chris Matthews will benefit from the shakeup. “One of the other winners in this is Chris Matthews,” a source close to MSNBC management said. “He’s been steady and uncomplaining. His numbers are better and he has a natural Philly connection to Comcast.”
MSNBC’s statement on Olbermann reads as follows:
MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavors.
In his final goodbye, Olbermann made a point to thank his audience for supporting him when he felt he could not continue the show:
There were many occasions, particularly in the last two-and-a-half years, where all that surrounded the show–but never the show itself–was just too much for me. But your support and loyalty and, if I may use the word, insistence, ultimately required me to keep going. My gratitude to you is boundless and if you think I’ve done any good here, imagine how it looked from this end…this may be the only television program wherein the host was much more in awe of the audience than vice versa.
I have to go back and look at the videos of Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore’s conversation about Julian Assange to see what all the fuss is about. In all honesty, I stopped looking at MSNBC primetime (except for Lawrence O’Donnell) because frankly, I’m a bit sick of the Obama bashing.
It’s almost as if they are trying too hard to show that MSNBC is not like Fox News as Jon Stewart implied this past October…
Keith Olbermann announced Thursday that he is suspending his Twitter account in response to sustained and, in his opinion, unwarranted attacks over his handling of the rape allegations surrounding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Assange’s legal troubles have been rife with confusion and controversy about the nature of the crimes he has allegedly committed. Many have urged people not to dismiss the rape allegations as merely politically motivated, while others have said they are a smokescreen for a war against WikiLeaks.
One of the people making the claim that the case has been overblown is filmmaker Michael Moore, who also contributed $20,000 for Assange’s bail. On Tuesday, Moore explained why he had contributed the money. He also appeared on that night’s “Countdown.” In response, the website TigerBeatDown harshly criticized Moore for writing that the allegations against Assange were “strange” and that people should “never, ever believe the ‘official story.'” The site launched a Twitter campaign to get Moore to apologize. TigerBeatDown also criticized Olbermann for retweeting a link by Bianca Jagger which dismissed the charges and possibly revealed the identities of Assange’s accusers. More…
Bristol may yet get a chance to confront Olbermann in person. In the second part of the interview, spurred on by Media Malpractice filmmaker John Ziegler, Bristol displays a willingness, even an eagerness, to appear on Countdown and let Olbermann take his best shots at her.
In case you missed it, Olbermann named Bristol Palin the “Worst Person in the World” on Monday’s Countdown for a weeks-old abstinence and safe sex PSA starring Palin and Jersey Shore’s “The Situation.” Olbermann’s criticism was based on the notion that unplanned single mother Bristol sets a poor example as an abstinence spokesperson, ignoring her obvious value as a cautionary figure. He also made a tone-deaf comparison to George W. Bush and 9/11 in the process.
Palin displayed a light touch in the radio interview, but the hosts employed a heavy-handed comparison of their own, likening Bristol’s situation to that of the late Yul Brynner, who famously appeared in an anti-smoking PSA, urging viewers from beyond the grave not to end up like him. While Bristol Palin’s status as a single mother certainly gives her standing to speak on the issue, she’s miles away from Brynner on the worst-case scenario spectrum.
Later in the interview, filmmaker John Ziegler joins the chorus of Olber-bashing, and when he reiterated his $100,000 challenge to debate Olbermann, Bristol chimed in that it would be “hilarious, sitting at that table with him, having a conversation. I just want to know why he would say that, though. What facts does he have behind that, and what have I done to deserve that (Worst Person) title?”
Keith Olbermann returned to “Countdown” from his two-day suspension with a bang on Tuesday, sidling into the view of the cameras in front of his empty seat and saying, “this was not a publicity stunt. Of course, if I had known all of this would happen, I would have done this years ago!”
I won’t pounce on MSNBC’s ridiculous decision to suspend Keith Olbermann, others have articulated the generalconsensus rather colorfully. I’m just happy tohear that MSNBC’s Phil Griffin regained his common sense and reinstated Keith Olbermann!
MSNBC just announced that Keith Olbermann will be back on Tuesday after one more day of suspension on Monday evening.
Olbermann was suspended indefinitely without pay on Friday after a report that he’d contributed to three Democratic House candidates in October, purportedly a violation of MSNBC policy.
Statement from Phil Griffin …
After several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night’s program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy. We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night.
MSNBC Countdown w/ KEITH OLBERMANN – Oct. 27, 2010: Keith enumerates the extremist views of the Tea Party and right-wing candidates and gives a warning. This comment is a LONG one because there are so many Tea Party/Republican wacky beliefs and quotes for him to list. Some of the beliefs are just ignorant, some are absurd, many are despicable and indefensible.
As @Shoq tweeted: “Most Americans have not see all the crazy in one place. Now they can.”