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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soundoff (1,424 Responses)
  1. hammertoe121

    All of his lies and hate filled speach have finally caught up to him... He won't be missed by anyone who thinks for themselves.

    January 22, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jim Bennett

    Keith Olbermann fired? ( ) And WHO is taking his time slot?

    January 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      Ed Schultz is taking over the time slot. He is not my cup of tea so I won't be watching. 🙁

      I'll miss Keith and his readings of Thurber!!!

      January 23, 2011 at 3:35 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Actually the Ed shultz show has been moved to the 10 PM slot and The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell has taken over Keith's spot.

      January 26, 2011 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Abner

    Keith will be sorely missed.This guys was unafraid, and I admire his courage to fight for those less fortunate than himself....I will neglect dealing with the trolls here, they are being well fed by ya'all. Push back on the trolls just wastes your time. Obviously, I have workers of the world to unite., and I must speak with Fidel about takeover, don't cha know.

    January 22, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Abner

    Keith , good on yah!

    January 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. B.

    Thank you MSNBC for doing exactly with Keith Olbermann asked all networks to do "Remove all incendiary commentators from public view". Keith your wish was your command!!!!

    January 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Layedbak1

    Couldn't happen to a nicer guy. I tried to and did watch his show occassionally, but his sophmoric behavior and hate really turned me off. He was a good talking point for my thought that it would be a good idea for MSNBC to hire some adult commentators for a change, instead of the teen like personalities that they have on the air.

    January 22, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  7. lucidfutz

    Fox News told me he was a terrorist. Obviously I believe them.

    January 22, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. kathy

    I will watch a news and weather chanel with Keith Obermann and D. Schwartz . I will not watch Keith replacement !ComCast as soon as I can get another cable company or the DISH your fired !!!!!!

    January 22, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. wilderp

    I can't imagine msnbc w/o olbermann.

    January 23, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tom Vogt


    January 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. McJesus

    You (justly) criticize the hypocrisy of the government and corporations as a journalist... yes, as jourlalists are suppose to... and you won't keep your job that long. So much for Freedom(tm).

    January 24, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Richard Hight

    I felt like I took a sucker punch to the gut when I read that Keith Olbermann and MSNBC parted ways. Unlike his counterparts over at Fox, when Olbermann spoke, he spoke the truth that could be verified as such. Imagine being fired for telling the truth about the dirty tricks that the Republicans are famous for doing.

    Limbaugh, O'reilly, and Beck devoted themselves to slandering Keith every chance that presented itself, never mind if there was a drop of truth in their defamation of Olbermann's reputation.

    I wonder how Ed Schultz, Chris Mathews, Rachael Maddow, and Lawrence O'Donnell will respond to this situation?

    January 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ukken

      well I would like to see some proof about Bill O,Reilly talking about Oberflubber.. as I know for a fact that on his show he never talked about him and they did that to drive the guy nuts and I guess it worked

      January 24, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • WnGnKnJ

      "ukken – well I would like to see some proof about Bill O,Reilly talking about Oberflubber.. as I know for a fact that on his show he never talked about him and they did that to drive the guy nuts and I guess it worked"

      Are you kidding me?? A simple Google search will return quite a few stories about their feud and how they've taken jabs at each other.

      January 25, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Linda

    We were really shocked to hear about Keith, this is my first time posting a comment but I felt it was time to say something with Keith departure. This is another one who loves his show and will miss it very much. I have been reading these comments for a long time and I am disappointed on how much hate goes on this post. But most of all how childish people are about other people who make a mistake in spelling. Come on are we not above this?!? After all that has been happening in these past few weeks it's time we come together as a Country.

    January 24, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Name*Sirvonue Neal

    I will never watch MSNBC count down again Keith Olbermann, is MSNBC

    February 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Earnest

    This article is actually a pleasant one it assists new net visitors, who are wishing in favor of blogging.

    November 21, 2013 at 11:54 am | Report abuse |
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