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. Marc

    Keith gone? Guess I no longer need to subscribe to Cable.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Trump2012

    It brings me great pleasure to see all of these disappointed Keith O fans. I can't believe how many of you there are. Maybe you should get T-shirts and start the Keith Party? You can go protest on GE's steps (MSNBC owner)...oh wait, GE is now in bed with Obama, so you would not want to offend anything that the Messiah is doing, right? Everything is still Bush's fault – I forgot.

    Stop drinking your own bath water. This is the wake up call that you all needed to realize just how opinionated and fictional he truly is. I hope you all cry your eyes out, and maybe if you are lucky, they will replace him with Newt Gingrich.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • brrrgirl

      Good Lord, you people on the right are truly just negative, mean, unhappy people aren't you? Could you try to stop spewing all the hateful rhetoric, please? Of course not. You couldn't hold your tongue when people were killed so why start now.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • johnC

      My my, such hatred and negativity. So unnecessary, and so child like.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
    • ktpinnacle

      Trump in 2012?

      And the left is delusional?

      January 22, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. Verdelma Paine

    What is going on? Keith Olberman has brought a large audience to MSNBC. Now Comcast has taken over and silenced this voice of the left. Don't they realize that half of this country feels the same way he does? Do the Republicans really have this much power to silence somone who has another point of view? I am disappointed – so disappointed, in fact, that I will no longer watch MSNBC.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tim

    Extremely saddened to see him depart. Will look forward to his new show with much anticipation.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ann

    Keith averaged over 1 million viewers per night, why are they doing this?

    January 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • phillip Marlowe

      because O'Reily crushed him with 5 times the viewers nightly

      January 21, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Packerfanchick

      This is to Phillip, you are an idiot, ratings for Bill O'Reilly has nothing to do with his validity as a commentator, and I can tell you are one of his "pinheads" because you spew his line that he uses almost every night to stroke his own ego into believing his opinion means something. It does not, he makes Fox money by feeding you lies and you eat it hook line and sinker, you truly are one of the idiots in America.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ARM

    Do yourself a favor CNN and call Keith, You could have him by next week, Besides, your ratings will go UP!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. chris

    I shall miss Countdown. I shall miss Olberman's perspective and honest approach to items of newsworth. He shall end up where HE wants to be. brilliant, connected, delightfully tacky, amusing...we have not seen the last of KO

    January 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    Who cares, his ratings were awful anyway

    January 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • ktpinnacle

      Thinking people care, ideologues don't.

      A lot of people bought Pinto's, too.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. phillip Marlowe

    Don't worry libs, I am sure CNN will sign him up and he will remain far behind O'Reily in the ratings

    January 21, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • JB

      At least he doesn't rely on yelling and anger like that jerk O'reilly. Go ahead, watch Faux news in your trailer.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • SpyGlass

      I want to see him co-host a show on Fox, with one of their many big government Republicans. O'Reily / Olbermann? Hannity / Olbermann? Beck / Olbermann... oh hell no.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lee Bartholomew

      Keith behind in the ratings?>? hahahahaha. right in in what category. yawn...

      January 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Spyglass, maybe he'll be hired into the GIANT government ObaMao administration...

      January 21, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Hey Marlowe: I'm a lib and I could not care less about Olberman's departure. He was, in my view, as embarassing to liberals with his hyperbole as all Fox News pundits are to true conservatives.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rapidoroberto

      The truth makes people uncomfortable, and many would just as soon not be confronted with it. That's why those who speak the truth as matter of course will always fall behind a lying hack like Bill O'Reilly in any so called ratings.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Clifford S

      This is awesome news, funny the guy that has been ranting about taking other people
      off the air got fired himself!


      January 21, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • kennyboy

      Keith is a vile individual. It is not about his is about who he is as a person. Do we really need to be constantly subjected to his angry rants, constant FOX news attacks, and twisted personal sarcasism? Tell me what you think, not about what you think about other anchors who are killing you in the ratings. Reminds me of a angry male Rosie...WAY TOO ANGRY. What an incredible lack of maturity. Crawl back into the hole where you came from Keith!

      January 21, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      I always laugh when idiot teaparty types come to so-called 'lib sites' and hate on them. I'm conservative myself but at the very least have the intellectual processing power and IQ to know better.

      Go support Lougher and pretend you had nothing to do with the vitriol.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray

      Well at least he's smart enough to understand how the tides work. But I guess you must believe the world is 6000 years old.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bill

    Wow, he managed to go through his entire tenure without having a single guest who disagreed with him!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Phil Sandifer

      And when O'Reilly goes off the air, he'll do so without ever having let a guest who disagreed with him actually talk.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Shir-PA

    There goes MSNBC ratings I'm signing off also. I will miss you Keith . You did a great job and help keep the reporting balanced

    January 21, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Their ratings were already in the tank. Maybe they can try to boost them now.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • F. Lampman

      I can't believe that anyone had any respect for this idiot. He used his position in the media to demonstrate what lack of intelligence and un derstanding he brought to the table. Maybe some left wing media group will make him the standard barrer. They deserve him. I hope he has a great deal of difficulty finding anybody that would even consider paying him.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • mane

      Keith Olbermann was MSNBC. As Keith goes, so do I. Bye, Bye BSNBC

      January 21, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paula

      I agree with Shir-PA. The ending of Keith's show is a major loss for nightly viewers of MSNBC. While I also like Chris Matthews' and Rachel Maddows' reporting, I always found KO's reports to be most "in sync" with my own political and moral inclinations. Though it is a major loss for MSNBC not to have KO's nightly commentary and coverage, I hope that he will appear on another nightly network, perhaps on CNN, to provide us with an honest and verifiable source of reporting daily news.
      Since KO's show has been cancelled, I will be more inclined to tune into CNN, rather than MSNBC, for my evening update – despite my support of Maddow and Matthews.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rizbo

    Oops, I have no more book to keep me occupied – I just colored in the last page.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. luke

    There is no hope left for this country – NONE!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ramon F Herrera

      Speak fer yourself...

      January 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • cecilia

      She can speak for me and lots of other intelligent people out there – all you have to do is read the posts to learn all you want to know about the fools who are happy with this development –

      January 21, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • mane

      Damn right. I'm done with the bullcrap network.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. melloman

    goodbye to a very angry ugly person...

    January 21, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • cityguy

      dont forget "idiotic and brain dead"

      January 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • cecilia

      you would be angry also if you had the intelligence and were not wrapped up in the cloak of moral superiority. why dont you sign off of the CNN page and more on over to the Faux News site – listen to a little Beck or Limbaugh – now there are some voices of comfort and calm.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Djordje

      You mean Bill O'Rielly right? Or Glenn Beck? They are both brain dead.. paid spokesmen for Goldline.. send in your unwanted gold for pennies on the dollar.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • I can spell

      "melloman"....where are you going? See you. Don't let the doorknob hit you!

      January 21, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • mane

      Do it live ! Do it live!! Thats the angry O'reilly. America is getting dumber with fox

      January 21, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jse

    It looks like the 5 people who watch his show are posting on here tonight.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
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