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. Jesse

    Well, at least I don't have to worry about choosing between MSNBC & whatever else is on. I will just watch the podcasts of Maddow & sometimes O'Donnell – no advertising for me.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Just Me

    Farewell Darling...

    January 21, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  3. manny

    Wow You republicans are unbelieveable, i guess u like paying 5$ for gas and our fanancial system and markets going to the cr@pper, Or maybe invade countries that didnt attack us..

    America eserves everything that happens to them. especially the republecan party ..


    January 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trump2012

      Get a job...and buy a Prius. Obama's energy policy isn't quite doing it for me, either.

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


      January 21, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rick Miller

    Are you kidding me? Why is this news?

    January 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Greg

    good riddance

    January 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. FfrankK

    Insane. Inane. Who else is on the chopping block? How long will it be until the other progressive hosts are run out and we end up with MSFOX brought to you by Comcast?
    Lean Backward.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Btwice

    Sign Keith, CNN, and count me as a new viewer.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay Jacks

      Me too! Olberman is a voice of sanity for me.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  8. matt

    At a time when most americans are trying to save money and stay home and enjoy great news and time together its difficult to understand why they would let a great personality leave without trying to keep him? I enjoy there news, will probably still watch but not a great move! I'm sure the BIG man is reading all these post-90 percent are positive? You gain so much more if you bring him back and realize in this business that your following has a voice also?

    January 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Phil

    Sorry to see Keith gone, we need more counterpoints to the faux news hate spreading talking heads

    January 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Carol

    Just watched Anderson Cooper announce this story about Keith Olbermann and very complimentary of his work. I know that business is cruel, but I feel personally attacked to have Countdown swiped away without an explanation. Someone should snap him up fast and get him back on TV News.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Big Wig

    If ends up as white house press sec. I'd be so f'ing happy... way better job .. way better forum.. better travel .. better pay maybe .. better command of what drives the news ... think about it... he wouldn't leave countdown for any ol' job but for whitehouse press sec, I see him jumping at that..

    Go Keith!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. vincent

    The propagandist is finished. Just like the Marxists, he ran out of lies. Hey Lib-tards, get a clue.

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

      Actually, Dr. Goebbles would be VERY PROUD of Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly. Maybe these two can promote "Conservative National Socialism" and use the term Ein Volk, Ein Reich, Ein Fuhrer to preach patriotism.
      Seig Heil to the Conservatives and the GOP! Wait, please do not place me in front of the firing squad....I used my left arm instead of my right.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • J. Williams

      Ah Vincent, Lib Tards. Such witty repartee.

      January 22, 2011 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. John

    MSNBC will now be lower than Fox News with Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck. Actually, I'm surprised that these are still on the air. Then again, the conservatives do need biased information.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jacque

    Alright Kieth...may you find something bigger and better. I appreciate you so much and will definitely miss you! I am on of your greatest fans and will be looking for your next endeavor. Just do it before the elections because we need you!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Indiana Voter

    I guess MSNBC is tired of being last in the ratings. Good for them!

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