Current TV Fires Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann has been fired by Current TV. Keith promises a lawsuit. Eliot Spitzer will replace Keith. Apparently, they were negotiating until yesterday:

The two sides tried to hammer out a setlement Thursday and into Friday, but with Olbermann insisting on tens of millions of dollars to pay out his contract, they remained far apart, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

Here's Keith's full statement. Current TV's full statement is here. [More...]

From Current TV's Statement:

"We are moving ahead by honoring Current's values," they said in the open letter. " Current has a fundamental obligation to deliver news programming with a progressive perspective that our viewers can count on being available daily - especially now, during the presidential election campaign. Current exists because our audience desires the kind of perspective, insight and commentary that is not easily found elsewhere in this time of big media consolidation."

From Keith's statement:

"For more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I've been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff," Olbermann tweeted. "Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract."

His departures from MSNBC and ESPN didn't go well either. He seems to have some issues when it comes to playing well with others. Where can Keith go next?

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    Sort of sad (5.00 / 4) (#1)
    by Militarytracy on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 07:15:07 PM EST
    The first pretty face on the tube to dress down Bush in the fashion he richly deserved, but too easily avoided for too long because the nation had been attacked and he was a "war time" President.

    Can anyone figure out and explain (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by Peter G on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 07:35:54 PM EST
    what this contretemps was really about?

    Olbermann (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Makarov on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:23:12 PM EST
    was reportedly upset about production issues - satellite connections dropping, graphics problems, etc - on his show. When he was asked to host a live show covering the Iowa caucus results, he apparently refused. Subsequently, he was accused of taking unauthorized days off.

    This is based on reading a NY Times media blog account of the split.

    The rumors of his departures from ESPN, MSNBC, and now Current all have a common theme. Keith is rumored to behave petulantly and has a difficult time working with his bosses, whomever they may be.

    Considering he's never been canned for things he's said on air, and always in regards to behind-the-scenes stuff, I believe these rumors are likely accurate.


    Yup, that sounds about right (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by andgarden on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:22:15 PM EST
    It sure gives another meaning to "countdown" (until Keith gets fired again).

    ThinkProgress (none / 0) (#6)
    by Makarov on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:34:18 PM EST
    reports that Olbermann "missed 19 of his 41 working days in January and February". He then requested a vacation day for March 5th, was warned he would be in breach of contract if he didn't work, and took the day off anyway.

    If Current's description of the situation was accurate, I think Keith would have been wise to accept the offered severance payment.

    ThinkProgress - Current fires Keith Olbermann


    I sure don't know anything about KO (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by Peter G on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 11:09:58 PM EST
    but most employers, looking at 19 absences out of 41 working days, would be thinking alcoholism as the most likely cause.  Although most employees who missed that much work without explanation wouldn't last to the 41-day mark, in halfway normal job situations.

    Now (none / 0) (#12)
    by Makarov on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 11:37:22 PM EST
    the gory details (no pun intended) are coming out, courtesy of Howard Kurtz's twitter -

    Current camp says Olbermann refused to do promo ads for other shows, and that he "went through 8 car companies," apparently dissatisfied with their service. Olbermann camp counters he had to keep changing car companies because Current wasn't paying the bill.

    Haha. Maybe I'll actually watch one of CNN's Sunday shows to hear more.


    Tussle (none / 0) (#18)
    by lentinel on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:44:20 AM EST
    These guys have "camps".



    I recall (none / 0) (#7)
    by cal1942 on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:34:19 PM EST
    he made short comments about production values a few times.

    It's too bad, the man was really sharp.  


    Who'd hire him now? (none / 0) (#28)
    by magster on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 12:23:51 PM EST
    It would be like signing Allen Iverson or Manny Ramirez to a sports' team.

    Manny (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by CoralGables on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 01:26:00 PM EST
    signed with the Oakland A's

    It's true that Manny signed (none / 0) (#30)
    by Zorba on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 03:52:42 PM EST
    with the Oakland A's in February, 2012, but he signed a minor league contract with them.  
    The deal calls for a $500,000 salary if he makes the MLB roster. However, he needs to serve the 50-game suspension before he can play for the team. He will be eligible to play again on May 30, 2012, when his 50 game suspension will be completed.

    Having said that, color me not surprised if Ramirez winds up on the A's major league roster after May 30.

    Keith being Keith (none / 0) (#3)
    by scribe on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:22:27 PM EST
    That, and I'm sure that Al Gore being fat had something to do with it, too.

    "Oops, I did it again." is not the contemplation to be having when dealing with the personnel office.


    It is (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by lentinel on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:45:46 AM EST
    obvious to me that Al Gore's girth had everything to do about Keith's dismissal.

    I've always liked Olbermann, but alas, ... (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 10:53:50 PM EST
    ... he appears to have devolved into the curmudgeonly uncle that almost every family seems to have. Next we hear from him, it will probably be when he's yelling at the kids to get off his lawn.

    I (none / 0) (#17)
    by lentinel on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:40:12 AM EST
    liked some of the things that Keith had to say - but he never sounds spontaneous to me. Everything he says sounds as if he is reciting something.

    ESPN fired him (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by jbindc on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:13:40 AM EST
    FOX Sports fired him, MSNBC FIRED HIM, and now Al Gore fired him.

    Seems to me he needs to go back to kindergarten and learn how to play nice with others.

    Let's be fair here. (none / 0) (#22)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 04:18:27 PM EST
    Olbermann didn't get fired by everyone. He actually walked out on ESPN and MSNBC the first time around. I'm not sure about FOX Sports, but it wouldn't surprise me if he took a powder on them, too.

    And the second time around at MSNBC, it was well known that he was unhappy with management, and had they not mutually agreed to a buy out of his contract, he would've probably walked on them again.

    Let's fact it, as talented as he is, Keith Olbermann is also a petulant diva who can suck the air out of the room if allowed. Looking back on his mercurial behavior even back in earlier days, it amazes me that ESPN and MSNBC would later hire him back!


    He'll barely notice the difference. (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Robot Porter on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 09:38:57 AM EST
    Working at Current was as close as not being on TV as you can get.

    Haven't been a fan for a while (5.00 / 7) (#20)
    by Sweet Sue on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 11:12:07 AM EST
    Keith lost me in 2008 when he suggested that someone should take Hillary Clinton-how dare she keep winning those big primaries!-into a room and only one of them (hint: not Hillary) should come back out.
    From that moment, I couldn't stand the sight of him.
    Someday, he'll be that poor soul in the coffee shop mumbling "special comments" into his matted beard.

    Sweet Sue-you're killing me! (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by DFLer on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 11:37:32 AM EST
    poor soul in the coffee shop mumbling "special comments" into his matted beard.

    brilliantly hilarious picture.


    agree wtih sweet sue - sick of KO in 2008 (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by noholib on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 08:46:17 PM EST
    I agree entirely.  He and virtually all of MS-NBC were insufferable once they ramped up their relentness, petulant, and vicious anti-Hillary campaign.  I stopped watching the self-righteous Keith O. and never missed him afterwards -- though I had valued his anti-Bush statements earlier. I once found him funny and courageously outspoken; then I merely found him a blowhard.  
    I've never really forgiven that network for their behavior in 2008.  However, now, what's the option?  With the Repubs more radically right than ever, Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O'Donnell, and Ed Schulz are voices of sanity -- as long as they talk about the middle-class, the economy, jobs, and unions, the so-called justice system--and stay away from uncritical hero-worship.

    Olbermann lost me years ago (5.00 / 3) (#21)
    by shoephone on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 12:16:26 PM EST
    when he started signing off using Murrow's old line, "Good night and good luck." Made me cringe. KO ain't no Murrow and ain't never gonna be.

    I lIked It.. (none / 0) (#33)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:40:06 AM EST
    ...because I thought, at the time, he was mocking himself for being sooooo talented he had to copy someone's material.

    I was so blinded by my hatred of GWB, that it never occurred to me that KO was an ahole to 4veryone, not just our comment enemy.

    For a man that seems to have a real princess complex, he really can pull of the self deprecation when on the air.


    Should Be (none / 0) (#34)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:41:04 AM EST
    Common enemy.

    "Comment enemy" (none / 0) (#42)
    by DFLer on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 11:22:08 AM EST
    is better!

    So long, Keith ... (none / 0) (#8)
    by jginnane on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 09:49:40 PM EST
    I was so happy to see KO take the job at Current that I went and swapped cable providers.

    But -- it wasn't a good fit.  KO always had 2nd and 3rd-tier guests.  His segments were often behind the MSNBC ones, and didn't offer anything new or deep in analysis.  It became a game of watching his personality (cult alert!) to make up for the lack of hard news and sharp writing.

    Then, KO started missing.  A Lot.  Any hope for his unique insights to the Republican primaries were dashed, time and again, by the "guest host" syndrome.  While the advertising on Current improved, it was clear that KO wasn't doing much to build the brand other than by showing up (very occasionally) and cashing his paycheck.

    This is hard on everyone involved, and I hope KO lands somewhere sunnyside up.  It's unlikely I'll follow him this time.

    I agree - his show didn't offer (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by ruffian on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 06:46:03 AM EST
    much more than Keith's personality, which I tired of long ago. He isn't a particularly good interviewer or political analyst. I find that if I am in the mood for a political show I watch Young Turks, then skip his show and watch Jennifer Granholm.

    Maybe he should go back to sports, and maybe work on whatever personal issues he may have.


    if keith could run a full-spread offense, (none / 0) (#11)
    by cpinva on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 11:24:37 PM EST
    they'd have paid him the millions.............

    Olbermann never took this test (none / 0) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 07:36:54 AM EST
    1. Fill bucket with water.

    2. Stick hand in bucket.

    3. Remove hand.

    4. Find hole left by removing hand.

    Uh-uh. That test is ... (5.00 / 0) (#23)
    by Donald from Hawaii on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 04:29:39 PM EST
    ... far more applicable to Sean Hannity and those three bimbos at Fox & Friends, who'd doubtless all have trouble finding the open end of a paper bag, even with illustrated instructions.

    Reference to a poem (5.00 / 0) (#26)
    by Yman on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 05:06:48 PM EST
    Donald, the test applies to everyone (none / 0) (#25)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 04:42:34 PM EST
    who is working within an organization.

    No politics involved.


    He's scheduled to appear (none / 0) (#24)
    by brodie on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 04:35:17 PM EST
    on Letterman this Tuesday.  He'd better have a good story ready because he's lost a lot of credibility with me not being able to get along at Current.  Sounds like he might have had some unrealistically ambitious expectations about what Current would do for him producing the show, which could be a cover for the failure by Olbermann to reach the lofty heights in ratings and viewer buzz expected by Gore et al.

    The other thing that occurs to me is that Keith really needs to find something where he can be his own boss.  I can't see another Corp owned media outlet giving him another chance even if he agrees to work for scale.

    Current's values (none / 0) (#32)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:25:22 AM EST

    We are moving ahead by honoring Current's values

    Some values, they replaced him with a guy that cheated on his wife with a prostitute.  That either says something about Current's values or what Current thinks of Olbermann's values.


    Current Tv wasn't talking about ... (5.00 / 0) (#35)
    by Yman on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 10:57:27 AM EST
    ... Spitzer's marital/prostitute issues when they were talking about their "values".  If you think the sex lives/fidelity of TV anchor's are relevant to their job performance or how their hiring reflects on a network, you're gonna have a very short list of potential replacements.  Same for politicians.

    ... could probably fit the entire list on a falafel.


    Perhaps you forgot (none / 0) (#38)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 06:24:20 PM EST

    Spitzer unlike most other cable and TV types held office that A. was charged with prosecuting prostitution and B. such behavior could be used for blackmail.

    Perhaps you forgot, but beside cheating on his wife and putting her at risk of disease, he violated the public trust and his oath of office.  

    But don't worry,you may be right.  We may have no reason to believe he would lie to total strangers in the audience.


    Didn't forget (none / 0) (#39)
    by Yman on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 07:21:22 PM EST
    A. BFD - a distinction drawn by those who want to pretend they're narrowing their criticism to AGs, because they don't want to criticize their own for doing the same things.

    B.  Any affair could be "used for blackmail", along with a million other potentially embarrassing actions.  Yawn.

    Perhaps you forgot, but beside cheating on his wife and putting her at risk of disease, he violated the public trust and his oath of office.

    You mean like Newt, ... or Vitter, ... or Sanford, .... or Livingston, ... or Ensign, ... or Hyde, ... or Craig, .... or ...

    But maybe you're right about the lying.  Unless, of course, he was on Fox, ...

    ... in which case that's just prerequisite.


    he's going to do what? (none / 0) (#40)
    by jondee on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:20:25 PM EST
    "lie" on camera in front of millions of listeners?

    Is that the fear? (along with the possibility that he might singlehandedly plunge the nation into some moral cesspool by his mere presence on t.v..)


    to place Abdul's hypocritical b.s (none / 0) (#41)
    by jondee on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 09:40:01 PM EST
    in a much wider context, people should watch the film Client No.9..

    The moral: if you want to keep patronizing expensive escort services, don't threaten to run for President while attempting to effectively clamp down on the unregulated pigs-in-the-trough on Wall Street.


    Or maybe Spitzer is an intelligent (none / 0) (#36)
    by jondee on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 12:23:26 PM EST
    well-spoken man who's sinned and fallen short of "the glory.." the same as you -- and your family-values cohorts.

    that was for Mullah Abdul (none / 0) (#37)
    by jondee on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 12:24:38 PM EST
    Hmm (none / 0) (#43)
    by Euro News Magazine on Wed Jun 20, 2012 at 04:05:25 AM EST