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. Lee Bartholomew

    Mind you CNN came up with some fruit called Glenn Beck who told his viewers to put a bullet in the dems brains. Makes no sense.

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

      Watch the whole clip for the truth, not just the edited out of context clip that your masters fed you.
      You made a fool of yourself with your comment.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Wayne Thibeault

    Sweetongeeks you are SO right!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Allibutton

    Keith I am going to miss you. My heart hurt to see you go, but I must say I understand. I always which I had an opportunity to meet you. May you go in peace, and may your exit path be lined with success and happiness. May the haters live long dine upon their own venom.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Steve

    Too bad. Now we're stuck with loud mouth (Chris M) and motor mouth (Rachel M). But Chris O'D is good. I think they're going to cut out a lot of viewers. Olbermann was good at pointing out hypocrisy and I wish him good luck with whatever he does. We need someone like him on TV. As for the campaign donations? Please: FOX "News" is one huge donation to the Republicans.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nancy

    I am sorry to see Keith leave. He and Rachel gives a realistic perspective of the political scene today.

    I think that MSNBC is CRAZY to let him go.

    You have lost a viewer in me. No Keith, no nothing on MSNBC for me.

    I would like to know why his contract was terminated.

    What about the good he did for various causes. Don't they count?

    MSMBC is making a big mistake.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. modoer

    I will miss Keith

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

    It makes me laugh when a liberal says they don't have nearly as many liberals on the news to combat the rights talking heads. I guess ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, NEW YORK TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, well i could go on, but i need to get back to celebrating the lose of a gigantic moron. He rips on Fox but doesn't look in the mirror. What do you think the ratio between conservative and liberal guest on his show were? He didn't have opposing views on his show very often because he is to stupid to defend himself. At least on Fox, they make an effort to put liberals on, on a daily basis.

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

    It appears that CNN has asked him to come over. Negotiations are currently underway.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • kake79

      NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bite your tongue! That loudmouth better NOT contaminate the ONLY news network that reports real news with some semblence of objectivity and integrity.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. USMC

    should have stuck with Sports Center

    January 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. John Scribner

    Though I have been an Avid viewer of MSNBC this will certainly change my viewing habits. I watch the ED show, I watch Hardball I watch the Rachel Maddow Show, I watch Lawrence O'Donnell, and on Occasion I even watch Dylan Ratigan and if I am up early enough Joe Scarborough. My main reason for viewing though has always been to watch Countdown everything else either just led up to it or followed it and now that Keith has been axed I will have to get my politics from the internet. Don't worry MSNBC i'll just be one less person texting A or B to 622639. When Phil Griffin resigns I may come back and watch MSNBC but for now there will have to be something extremely interesting before I tune in. Thank you Keith for keeping us informed these last 6 years.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Fremonter

    Boycotting MSNBC is one thing, but unless you're willing to go all in and cut off your Comcast service, including phone and internet, you're not going to have a chance at making your point to those who were behind this outrageous, moronic decision. I loves me some Keith, but how long am I willing to go without cable TV completely, or turn my service over to the tender mercies of AT&T or some other cable/internet vendor? What price to make a point? How much do I hate Comcast? (hint: a lot)

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

      So glad I do NOT have comcast, and now NEVER will! Hope to hear from Olberman soon!

      January 21, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Marilyn Mueller

    And, the dumbing down of Amerika continues,,,,sad, sad day.......MM

    January 21, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TONI


    January 21, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rasputin

    Don't worry Libs, Maddow is more than obnoxious enough to make up for the loss.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jse

    Rachal Rachael she's our man if she can't do it ...... oh what the hell fire her too.

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