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. theraggedwagon

    The voice of truth silenced – for a time only – as the truth always emerges in the end.

    January 22, 2011 at 8:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Darrell Cox

    If Comcast is behind this, I will be canceling my Comcast service.
    Keith, please be back on the air soon, we need you. You and Rachel were the two main reasons I watched MSNBC.

    January 22, 2011 at 8:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. syzito

    Another liberal left winger bites the dust.....good riddance.

    January 22, 2011 at 8:48 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. hammertoe121

    Good riddance to bad rubish, this guy is all that's wrong with America, it's about time he got what he deserved.

    January 22, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Name*yomamasuxbls

    Hahahahahaha. Hey KEITH good luck. Maybe (congress willing) you can try and revive air america. It dies a horrific death but i feel u may be able to.............Nevermind. You are a cancer to any network or anything u touch. Love that i wont have to see your ugly mug as i flip the channel at night. Good riddance. Keith Olberman, tonights "Worst Propagandance Spewer in The Universe"

    January 22, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. curmudgy

    Comcast. Nuff 'said. I don't even own a television, so I really shouldn't care.

    January 22, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Dana

    Keith Olbermann and Dave Schwartz should launch their own new/weather channel!

    January 22, 2011 at 10:42 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. annevincent

    MSNBC went into the toilet when Tim Russert died. Without his insight and demeanor and keen sense of how best to use the various players on the network's team, the focus of providing real news and how best to present the inside stories of America's powerful politicos was lost. It they want to resurrect this network Comcast will need to find another Tim Russert......good luck with that job!!

    January 22, 2011 at 11:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Michael

    This is a sad day for truth in America. The seething hydra that is comcast will completely silence any other dissenting voices in the coming years, and the only places to get news will be the propaganda machine fox (I refuse to capitalize) and the the new improved propaganda machine NBC.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Karen Lee

    DIDN'T take long for Comcast to rear its UGLY HEAD (after the announced FCC-approved of NBC-Comcast merger).

    This signals the END for progressive views in media. The FCC really screwed the people of this country.

    GE … NBC UNIVERSAL and COMCAST: the gods that will rule our world in the days come.

    Rahm Emanuel and his WME CEO-agent brother, Ari (think Jeremy Piven in HBO Entourage as Hollywood agent Ari Gold) … who raised $12-million in just a few weeks to buy Rahm’s election as Chicago’s new Mayor.

    Now, Obama appoints GE/NBC’s Jeff Immelt to replace Paul Volker and the list goes on and on...

    WHO did we elect two years ago … to move this country back to the stone ages … in terms of our liberal FREEDOMS?

    January 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Ruthless

    I have just been given a reason not to watch MSNBC again. Every day I looked forward to K.O's show in the evening.

    January 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. moxiemom

    STUPID MISTAKE, msnbc!!!
    And because I couldn't have said it better, I will repost Janice Dillman's comment:

    I am enormously saddened to learn that Keith Olbermann has been silenced by the corporate establishm­ent, both in business and in media (as there is no way to separate the two any more). Keith Olbermann, while energetic and passionate­, brought forth facts that are never heard on CNN, or Fox News. His passion was simply passion and focused and targeted energy on those who wre selling out the middle class and us regular folk. Sadly, the only "passion" that corporate media will tolerate is the right wing vitriol of Beck and O'Reilly and Hannity that everyone know is not only hateful, but filled with lies and misinforma­tion. Keith offered refreshing reality to the conservati­ve propaganda­. He is brilliant and his special comments can bring people to tears. Keith, thank you for all you have done. Good luck and please find a way to land on your feet and come back to us all.

    For those who read this post and disagree with me, please pause a moment and identify for me where, or who, will provide us real journalism now? What station? Journalism in which the journalist will question the newsmaker, on the facts of the news, and NOT just repeating the propaganda­.........f­ind me one example.

    When will we all recognize that journalist­s are gone, and are replaced with corporatis­ts who work for about three or 4 companies/­families. Unbiased news is now a thing of the past. This is a real tragedy.

    January 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. steve

    Like Keith Olbermann said. Good bye MSNBC. I only watch you because of Keith. If he goes, so does I go. It was fun while it lasted. To bad you couldn't see the big picture.

    January 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. californiasunny

    I think that the people running MSNBC have forgotten what is important here. Does anyone recall what is was like before Keith came along? When Bush was elected the war started and nobody in the news media had an opinion or was afraid to dissent in anyway about anything? No real news about what was really going on was being reported n on T.V. Are we living in communist China? The only news we are aloud to get has to be approved by the Bush administration? Of course, you did have that propaganda machine fox news to rely on for all of your fair and balanced news and facts. Then there was Keith. One guy on T.V. with a different opinion who wove that in while presenting the facts. Until then, we only had a few personalities on the radio. I was delighted. I love Keith for so many reason. He is funny and snarky, but presented the facts along with opinions. There is nothing wrong with this. The right had a team of people. Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell started on his show. The water is warm now come on in. Keith paved the way for the others. I appreciate what Keith has done over the years and I am very sad to see him go. He helped me get through the Bush years. A time when so may people including myself felt like we had no voice or outlet.
    The important point MSNBC is missing: Not everyone is conservative and enjoys Fox news. If Comcast turns the channel into Fox News 2 there is no reason to watch it.
    To Keith I say Thank You, you will be missed greatly.

    January 22, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Ralph

    Keith is total class act and his show will be missed. I didn't agree with him all the time, but he told the truth. I will not watch MSNBC any longer and I hope CNN will put on.

    January 22, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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