Keith Olbermann, MSNBC part ways
January 21st, 2011
10:49 PM ET

Keith Olbermann, MSNBC part ways

Keith Olbermann is leaving MSNBC, the "Countdown" host announced on his show Friday night.

The liberal commentator told viewers he had been informed "this was going to be the last edition" of his show, but offered no further details.

NBC Universal confirmed the news in a statement Friday night.

"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."

Olbermann made the announcement in his typical deadpan style, evoking scenes from the film "Network" and thanking viewers for keeping him on the air for eight years.

"In the mundane world of television goodbyes, reality is laughably uncooperative," Olbermann said before launching into a story about his exit from ESPN 13 years ago.

"As God as my witness, in the commercial break just before the emotional moment, the producer got into my earpiece and he said, 'um, can you cut it down to 15 seconds so we can get in this tennis result from Stuttgart,'" he said, half-smiling, pausing for composure.

"So I'm grateful I have a little more time to sign off here. Regardless this is the last edition of 'Countdown.'"

Olbermann began his career at NBC in 1997 as an anchor for NBC Sports. During that time he was also host of two MSNBC primetime news programs, “The Big Show,” and “White House In Crisis.”

He left the network amid a dust-up over his dissatisfaction with the network's coverage of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. He returned in 2003 as a substitute host on "Nachman" before launching "Countdown."

The prime-time host's departure comes two months after he was suspended for a couple of nights in November for violating the ethics policy of the cable network after Politico reported that he had donated to three Democrats seeking federal office.

The contributions violated an NBC policy that requires employees of the news organization to obtain permission ahead of any political donations or activities that could be deemed as a conflict of interest.

The announcement triggered immediate speculation over whether the coming takeover of NBC Universal by Comcast had anything to do with his departure. NBC has denied that the move had anything to do with the impending takeover, New York Times reporter Bill Carter told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

Olbermann signed a four-year extension on his contract in 2008, Carter said, which will prevent him from appearing on television. He can still do radio and online appearances, he added.

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  1. Dan

    Keith Olberman was the best and most popular pundit to take on the F***ing liars at the FOX noise machine. Fox "News" is an entire network dedicated to selling Republican lies and propaganda! We need balanced media, even if it's all noise. Personally, I get my "NEWS" from my local coverage, PBS, NPR, BBS, and Frontline.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Jerri

    I love listening to Keith and getting his perspective of things. He is very entertaining and intelligent. I was a loyal viewer at 5 p.m. PCT. Will miss him a lot and hope he gets on a network that respects him.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Jim

    You're next Rachel with that irritating smarmy manner you have....

    January 21, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Wally B

    Will start watching MSNBC again now that he is gone. Don't need to be told how to think by anyone.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. norma wilkison

    What happened to my polite,well worded comment? If you don't like a show , don"t watch it....Comment unneeded!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Frazier Hughes

    Major loss for msnbc. Awesome delivery. Creative and engaging.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. John G

    Keith was and is a parasitic imbecile. Good riddance to trash like him. THANK YOU COMCAST.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. thad

    THIS IS CLASSICAL CENSORSHIP BY MONEY BAGS TO SHUT UP OPPOSING VIEWS THEY DO NOT LIKE. COMCAST IS RESPONSIBLE. BIG CORPORATIONS HAVE BEEN SCREWING US UP FOR TOO LONG. LETS ALL JOIN TOGETHER AND BRING DOWN COMCAST. FIRST, CANCEL ALL YOUR CONTRACTS WITH COMCAST; SECOND, STOP WATCHING THE MSNBC. I BET YOU, COMCAST WILL GO BANKRUPT. ONLY REPUBLICANS WILL GLORIFY AND SUPPORT THIS SEPARATION, BECAUSE ITS TO THEIR BENEFITS. LETS DO IT, AND NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bye Bye Keith

      Yeak, OK. You go first.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Georgette C

    Boo, hiss to MSNBC. Take him on CNN. It will be a huge ratings leap for you.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. liz from OH

    Really someone from MSNBC "got caught" giving money to the left? At least the right lets you know up front who they back. Go Papa Bear Bill and Beck!!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Bmt

    Rachel What?

    January 21, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. JMW HAWAII

    Aloha all,
    CNBC finally wised up after eight years.
    Keith could run for neighborhood board. Perhaps he'll find an audience there and finally get paid what he's worth.
    Now that Keith's cable show is over, his four fans in the state of Hawaii will have more time to play Donkey-Kong.
    The rest of us may consider watching CNBC again.
    JMW

    January 21, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Richard

    Good Riddence " Olbermann " ! A Non Journalist, not even worthy of being remembered as a second rate comentator.
    Spent all his time bashing Fox News which is The Truth and the Way. When you put out that vomit he spewed on a dialy basis, eventually your time is up. From this time forward, " Olbermann " distantly remembered for nothingness. Nothing From Nothing Leaves Nothing. Farewell " Loserman Olbermann "

    January 21, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • NJ Bob

      Are you really that stupid or do you just need a lobotomy?

      January 21, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Stu

    Keith was a third rate sportscaster and an fifth rate journalist. I never saw a Keith Olbermann commentary without at least one HUGE lie coming out of his pie-hole...like "Speaker Boehner...where are the jobs"...BEFORE Mr Boehner even assumed the position of "speaker"...TYPICAL Olbermann...He sucks...

    January 21, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. jse

    I'm hoping he reappears on Iranian TV ..... with his lips taped shut ...... and a bag over his head ....... and fingers running down the chaulk board in the background ....... and Rachael Maddow sitting next to him ...... and Chris Matthews in the next room .......

    January 21, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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