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. RICH

    KEITH IS THE BEST EVER

    January 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Marty in KY

      You are right. I have never seen the quality of venom and hate to come out of one person. He was great.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • penomegaly

      The best at causing heartburn.....

      January 21, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Robert Wells

    Im sorry, I never saw his show. Wasn't he a sportscaster?

    January 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. jt

    This is a great example of what is wrong with this country. Many of you seem to be illiterate. Try learning to use proper grammar and spelling. Focus on bettering yourselves and stop listening to any of the garbage emanating from your t.v.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • penomegaly

      I think you misspelled emating

      January 21, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. southern style

    kis my but libturds, Beck in 2012!!! watch out oBOONma truth is comming to the witehouse and it gunna kick you bake to keyna or whateva africa county you from.......my pastor just told me about a mouth ago that order wud come bake to the land, and GOD is turly waching over us!!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Marty in KY

      LOL, you are trying to hard. Give it another shot.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Desertdawg6

    I didnt think that he believed in God

    January 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. plo1965

    Man, if ever Facebook needed a "LOVE" button, here's the story for it.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. kar

    good news america , Keith would estabilish his own settlite tv. and the era of turning to big corporate owned and operated channels for news is over. mark my words.......

    January 21, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Kat

    If CNN had any brains they would be on the phone giving Keith a job.People leaving MSNBC will follow him.Comcast MSNBC will become Fox Lite.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom

      He is up there with Rick Sanchez at this point. Leave your personal and political feelings at the door, and embrace journalistic professionalism. Anything less is doing an injustice to inform the public in anything we can call a non-biased way, and not this circus!!! And for the kind of money these guys get paid, the public deserves better. Much much better.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • dhsjks

      You must be crazy. This guy is worthless. His lack of intelligence is noteworth. No reason to pine for losers.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter H

      Seriously, this guy is toxic... He opinion is wow, crazy... He is a Liberal Hannity... Just spews a good amount of lies and BS as well...

      January 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • jh

      MSNBC had it in his contract that even after they kick him out nobody else can hire him for a long time. I wish he could go straight from there to CNN, but he can't. They're hoping people will forget all about him. Well I won't.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • SpiritbearNY

      I agree with Kat, for some reason the 'reply' button is not appearing on Tom's comment. For Tom I have a few words – Do you say the same thing to your pals Hannity, O'Reilly and Limbaugh? I doubt it. Olbermann's show was not a news cast. It was opinion and information from his brilliant perspective. I will miss him terribly and hope he finds a way to broadcast soon. CNN, can you buy his contract?

      January 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sternberg

      He is too often dishonest.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Also, while we are at it, why is Behar calling people Nazi's on her news show? I'm sitting there watch her laugh and snicker with Joan River's of all non-newsworthy people in the world, to be discussing the news. What has the world lowered itself to at this point, if we are to consider this information to be accurate, reliable and non-biased??? It's a complete circus these days, and the level professionalism went straight out the door with these people after you paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars in paychecks.. I guess.. Because I can't figure these crazy people out! It's a joke!

      January 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • esCo

      southern style

      kis my but libturds, Beck in 2012!!! watch out oBOONma truth is comming to the witehouse and it gunna kick you bake to keyna or whateva africa county you from.......my pastor just told me about a mouth ago that order wud come bake to the land, and GOD is turly waching over us!!!

      First off, your grammar and spelling are worse that a typical 1st Grader; probably typical of 90% of "Becks" audience. And your pastor is a fool... The blind leading the blind... And if god does come the first people to go will be people like you and your pastor. And your Jesus is not the white god you goofballs pray to. If he did exist he was middle eastern or African and would despise hateful people today. Lol, if Jesus was around today you'd call him a liberal and communist... If he was alive today the right wing would label him un-American and a traitor and probably assassinate him lol...

      January 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • itsmyturn

      I am bummed.@ Peter H. should he have the journalistic professionalism of say....Glen Beck? Bill O'R. Hhahaha. K.O. is bright and articulate. This is a huge loss and I hope we see him ASAP with more air time.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikes

      @Tom. Thanks for some reasonable dialog. All the "news" networks would be better off with fewer commentators, and more newspeople. Hopefully, Maddow, O'Reilly and Beck will all follow Olbermann out the door. CNN has their share of commentators, too, although they tend not to be as extreme. But, CNN is still overbiased towards commentary instead of news. Blitzer is, IMO, the best newsman they've got.

      -signed
      Longing for the days of Murrow and Cronkite (or even Huntley/Brinkley)...and news.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kenneth L. Walters

      This man is the poster boy of what is wrong with journalism in this country. One sided. Hateful. He will not be missed!

      January 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      The more techonology and people you can reach; the more opinionated, baised, and complete lack of professional journalism has the news generally become. It's a grave injustice, and a lack of common respect of our own intelligence, and importantly EACH OTHER! puh.. I'm sick of this.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike1952

      Indeed!

      January 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      I don't even want to imagine!

      January 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • stonedwhitetrash

      I agree completely however very wingnut comcast will have to pay him well to keep him off TV Sure wish I could get a four year paid vacation.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mo

      Tell me one lie Olbermann ever told!

      January 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • varina darcy

      Thank God for Greyhound, he's gone!!! He was in need of anger management counseling for a long, long time and I think the bosses finally got smart and realized they did not need his vitriol spewed on a nightly basis. I will begin watching MSNBC when Rachel is gone; she could use some counseling herself – pretty hostile!

      January 21, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • David J

      I agree with you Kat! :)

      January 22, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • craiger59

      Oh God NO! This clown needs to rot in TV purgatory for a very long time.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
    • gonzostick

      Remember, this idiotic network is the one that fired Jane Pauley because one of their execs had the hots for Deborah Norville... So, the corporate idiots win... UGH... I have to have Comcast for cable, because AT&T is terrible... We are all owned by these media pimps...

      January 22, 2011 at 12:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Monkee

      I will no longer watch MSNBC. If CNN hired Olbermann they would pick up millions of viewers because I know I am not the only one who would switch networks.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • sam

      there's a great candidate to run against obama in the primary

      January 22, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  9. Army Man

    It was like a kick in the gut when I heard this was Keith Olberman's last night. Keith is a great man and I hope Comcast pays dearly for this poor decision. Anderson Cooper look out, Comcast may be comming for CNN next.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • dhsjks

      Probably the best business decision Comcast could have made. Hooray for good business judgement.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Peter H

      This guy is a POS and you sir are a sad sack to support this man...

      January 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • jh

      Comcast is a heinous company in many ways, and this just proves it once again.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Taylor davis

      I don't like him at all, but am glad he could be on the air so that his ratings could show how out of touch he is. Scoreboard.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marine and Army Mom

      I will miss Keith's show tremendously. He said it like he saw it, no holds barred, and he helped thousands upon thousands of people, especially with the attention he gave to the free health clinics during the health care debate.

      As to Comcast coming for CNN next, please note all the ex-fox people working with CNN now. It's become a haven for right wingers as well.

      This decision was made even before Comcast got their hands on MSNBC in what amounts to a coup. Right-wing corporate takeover of the airwaves is almost complete now and with the Supreme Court giving our elections to the higest bidder, I'm really afraid for our country. MSNBC will deteriorate into another Faux News channel.

      Some have mentioned Keith's contributions to Democratic candidates as part of the reason the bosses fired him but I haven't seen a mention of Joe Scarborough's contributions to Republicans. They also never mention the jstaffer who committed suicide in Joe's office when he was in Congress or the fact that he defended a man who either bombed or killed a doctor who performed abortions, I think the guys name was Eric Rudolph. I guess all those things are A-okay with the new MSNBC management.

      Has anyone ever questioned why this woman Congressional staffer decided to make such a statement as committing suicide inside the mans office. Were they having an affair that went wrong (while Joe was trashing Bill Clinton in the 90s)?

      Sorry for the rant but this makes me very angry. Boycotts of any and all of Comcast's holdings are in order.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • RickyL

      @dhsjks

      Comcast made a political calculation, not a business decision. Their ratings are going to plummet.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      they got him, kinder and gentler.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
    • blursd

      Yes ... he is a "great man" ... Olbermann has absolutely no concept of journalistic ethics, and doesn't see anything wrong with twisting facts and making openly deceiving remarks as long as it gets people to think what you want them to think. Because, after all, the most important thing isn't giving people information and allowing them to arrive at their own conclusion ... it's making sure you taint everything you say with your bias.

      I'm not saying Olbermann is unique ... O'Reily, Beck, Maddow ... they all do the same thing, and I can't watch any of them because everything they say is so unbelievably biased it's nauseating.

      I think what you really mean to say is you think Olbermann is a "great man" because he espouses the same biases you have. All that makes you is an ideologue ... because anyone with an ounce of objectivity would automatically recognize that Olbermann is very biased.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
    • RickyL

      @ blursd

      Please point out an example of Olbermann twisting facts. Personally, I think that is the major difference between Keith and Billo....Keith don't, Bill do.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. southern style

    kis my but libturds, Beck in 2012!!! watch out oBOONma truth is comming to the witehouse and it gunna kick you bake to keyna or whateva africa county you from.......my pastor just told me about a mouth ago that order wud come bake to the land, and GOD is turly waching over us!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • anonymouse

      1/10

      January 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • GOP

      Ah, a troll. How.......original.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • MattyCombs

      You are an ignorant, poisonous little toad.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • southern style

      listin here you 2 why dont you go to san fran and get gay with sumthin ... prob cus you 2 oBOON is in ofice

      January 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      "My pastor just told me..." That says it all hillbilly.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary Swanson

      Southern Style – If you want to be taken seriously here please learn to spell somwhere above the third-grade level.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Timothy Alger

      Somewhere should not be used in your post.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. newyawker

    Thank God he is gone. More toxic than Limbaugh. Hopefully he is next.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • RickyL

      More toxic than Rush.....watta joke.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. John

    Beat it Olbermann, and take all of your 100 viewers with you!

    January 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • dhsjks

      Sorry, you missed the latest ratings....only 94 viewers left...

      January 21, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • jh

      As of tonight, Olbermann still had the top-rated show on MSNBC, and he singlehandedly raised MSNBC to second place, leaving CNN third. Even with his large viewership, Comcast wanted to get rid of his voice.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • lima

      I know. It is very sad. Only 100 decent people in America.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • RickyL

      To John and dhsjks....you are both Liars.....Keith's neilsen numbers are, by far, still the best at MSNBC.....and MSNBC is still highly rated as a network.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  13. colowest

    And the corporafascists mark up another kill. Joseph Goebbels is laughing his *** off - his students have done well.

    I predict MSNBC won't last the year, and NBC itself not much longer, at least not as anything recognizable. The NBCUniversal Movie Channel, anyone?

    January 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • dhsjks

      Finally an intelligent comment on this post. MSNBC is gone, NBC is next. No one wants to listen to the biased bull...t that they spew any longer.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • CTYank

      "biased bull"? Are you crazy? Just asking, since it's obvious.

      Now, give somebody else some space. Your 15 lines are up.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. southern style

    kis my but libturds, Beck in 2012!!! watch out oBOONma truth is comming to the witehouse and it gunna kick you bake to keyna or whateva africa county you from.......my pastor just told me about a mouth ago that order wud come bake to the land, and GOD is turly waching over us!!

    January 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Harry Paratestes

      You are a perfect example of my last post, how do you muster up the intelligence to turn the computer on?
      Judging from your spelling I would guess that you made it half way through the fourth grade before the GOP
      voted to close your school down. When you were 17 and that guy threw a wad of paper at you it was not a
      diploma, didn't you hear what he yelled at you, did you know what it meant?

      I am sorry, I do not mean to criticize your obvious lack of intelligence, it is not your fault it is however the fault of
      people like your choice for president. Can I blame you? No, not really because if Beck were to become president
      you might be one of the top one million intellectuals in the country within 15 years.

      It is a sad time america.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heliskier

      Way to try and act stupid mr southern. You are a dem in disguise and it's so obvious. "my pastor".. Please that is so trite

      January 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • southern style

      Heliskier, you arnt real amerecen .. u can leave my county .. libturds like youself brang in evil to me home

      January 21, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • chipper

      An Amerecen? What country are you from? Do you have an embassy in the United States of America?

      January 22, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • chipper

      I hope your misspellings and lack of knowledge about the president of the United States is just a joke. If it's not, it's just another example of the frightening state this country is in. A democracy only succeeds when the citizens are educated. The current strategy of the Republican Party (not necessarily Conservatives, mind you, but the "Republican" Party) is to further erode the opportunity for American citizens to gather information, determine actual truths and biases, and then, intelligently, form an opinion. It's one thing to disagree with President Obama, but the reference to "Kenya or whatever African country" just shows how incredibly stupid you are.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alejandro

      i am so haaapppppyyyyyyy to understand that i am not the only one that see the reality of the republican party for a long time i was under the impression that no one else could see what this people is doing to this country but i feel better understanding that i am not alone mister Chipper i 1000% agree with you and i thank god that are people out there that is able to read between the lines an understand what this people is doing to this country that we all love , this days look like the republican party try so hard to enlist ignorants in there lines and the more ignorants the better cause ignorant people is easy to handle and can be brain wash easy. However you must understand that is lost case cause more than 50% of the population is ignorant , if you just look in Europe almost everyone is college educated , you know why , is FREE so in election time 85% to 90% of the population vote but here no one does cause there are huge interest that want people to remain ignorant , cause the more ignorant the easier they are to handle , scary but true , god bless and god nite just be sure you educate your family and they will theres so they passed along .
      YOUR OPINION IS WELL RESPECTED . GOOD MAN

      January 22, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Harry Paratestes

      You are exactly right, the republican party has been conspiring to reduce the intellect of the american citizenry in an attempt to control their politics and unfortunately it has seem some success. People with nothing are (sheeple) are being led to believe that it is in their best interest to allow the ultra wealthy to control politics and they are unaware that they are voting for economical enslavement of their own children. What will they think in 30 years when their Social Security has been raided and their children can't afford to help them out? One consolation, they get their politicians from this group (Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, Sharron Angle, Christine O'Donnell).

      January 22, 2011 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Educated?

      Wow... this post is a grammatical, statistical, unintelligent train wreck.

      You democratic liberals just need to move to Europe, plain and simple. The lies and hatred Keith and the rest spew are destroying the foundations of this country.

      January 22, 2011 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Harry Paratestes

      Like has been pressed.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mary

    Loved his show. He'll be missed. Good luck Keith.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • dhsjks

      Missed by whom...the 94 viewers left after his ridiculous rants???

      January 21, 2011 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • e j

      so you were one of the 84 views of the O man.... please don't lose any sleep over his firing..... he really was a terrific loser. You deserve much better. try real news for a balance approach where you can make your own decisions

      January 21, 2011 at 11:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • RickyL

      To dhsjks....are you just a compulsive liar?.....Keith's neilsen numbers are, by far, still the best at MSNBC.....and MSNBC is still highly rated as a network.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:49 am | Report abuse |
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