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, ‚ÄúThe Big Show,‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúWhite House In Crisis.‚ÄĚ

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. Kay

    Yea!!! Couldn't stand to see or hear him.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MyrnaMc

    I didn't much care for Keith Olbermann simply because he got so nasty and hateful sometimes, but he was a good commentator if he stuck with the facts. CNN has a good line up as it is...and I can't seem them needing another commentator any time soon. I wish Mr. Olbermann well.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • MyrnaMc

      Ooops...typo!!! I hate when I do that. I meant. "CNN has a good line up as it is...and I can't see them needing another commentator any time soon. I wish Mr. Olbermann well.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JG

    Why not the White House?

    January 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. hsidwob

    OMG ... we will miss Keith. Don't go!!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cecilia

    I am just sick- I feel like I just lost my best friend. this cannot stand – I am going to cancel my comcast and never ever watch NBC – we have the fools like beck and limbaugh and lose someone like Keith Olbermann – this is an outrage

    January 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Rizzo

    I never liked him glad to see him go .... could you imagine if he ended up at FOXS next to his bud Bill O.. LOL

    January 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. alfred newman

    Keith, you will be missed!! So sad to see you go. DAMN MSNBC!!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. CG Wilkerson

    Keith is no longer with MSNBC and so am I no longer with MSNBC. I will never watch the station again.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • MontgomeryScott

      you must have been an army of one.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • faux 'ewes' sheeple are brain-washed

      you're not alone

      January 21, 2011 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Rizbo

    I will miss Keith. At least I have his book to keep me occupied.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dale

    Wonder if that whiney uneducated clown Chris 'Tingles' Matthews is next!?

    January 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jse

    MSNBC could you fire Mr. Maddow on monday? Please, pretty please!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MIke

    What a ranting bucket of excrement! Good bye you lunatic. Hope you go crawl into a bunker somewhere and curl up with your ego for a long nap. Will Madcow leave next? Please take it with you.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ted

    Most unemployable person in the world!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. melanie

    MSNBC Off my nightly watch list. Sorry Rachael

    January 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jacque Lacy

    I am shocked! I count on Kieth to give the truth in a way no one else does. He will get to the real story and is one of the few commentators bold enough to take on real issues and people. I am praying for you Kieth! Let me know where you will be next so I can tune in. You are a jewel and will truly be missed--many try, but no one can do it quite like you!!! Maybe you can work on Oprah's new network.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
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