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. BT

    This is why I'm only watching 1 show on NBC at the moment. Geez! What were they thinking!!!! I really hope Cnn or someone hires him quickly, we need him now more than ever!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  2. GRR

    Franken was right that the Comcast merger would lead to censorship.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jbh

    wonder if it has anything to do with the new position of the head of GE?

    January 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ken

    a really honest and moving goodbye

    January 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jk

    About time, I couldn't stand listening to the garbage constantly spewing out of his mouth.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Schmoe

      But you couldn't control yourself and just had to listen.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • rckeene

      then why did you watch it???? At my house fox isn't even allowed to be on my tv.. what little I did see of fox was mostly from Keith and other people pointing out the distortions and none truths that they spouted; and was backed up with video clips to prove it .

      January 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teresa Smith

      That is because you have a close selfish mind. Fox news is bought and paid for so you know it is wrong. They are the mayor telling you to go out in the water with the sharks so they still make money. Keith is a hero not afraid to tell it like it is.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeff

      then why did you watch it

      January 21, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bugmenot

      If you would stop your yappin' we wouldn't have to listen to the garbage spewin' out of yours.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blagoliuff

      Calling the truth garbage makes it no less the truth. And that you apparently could not appreciate the truth speaks more to your own sensibilities than it does to any definition of garbage.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Katherine Hayes

    Say it isn't so!?!?! At least give him a show on some other network, preferably opposite Bill O'Reilly. I have been watching him up to three times per night...especially when I have insomnia. What will I do now?!?

    January 21, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Pete

    They are now saying he was fired. I agree – CNN needs to grab him! Good luck, Keith!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Richard

    Well the best political commentetor is gone * P.M. wont be the same without Kieth now that Jeff Imel is so impotant he cant tolerate a truth teller

    January 21, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Joe Schmoe

    Face it. There is no room in the media for liberals. Tow the conservati­ve line or you are fired.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teresa Smith

      You said it. Big money will drown out the truth. We will all hurt for this. Someone needs to seek the truth and stop them from taking all from us and making us third world workers.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Michelle

    I love the Keith Olbermann show!! The only reason I watched MSNBC was because of his show. I'm so mad I will not be watching their channel anymore!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • CindyLou

      Good for you Michelle, i am not only not watching MSNBC, but I am also going to cancell my Comcast contract tomorrow.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cathy

    So sorry to see him go! You will be missed, Keith!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. LP96

    Thank God. Maybe I'll start watching MSNBC again!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. T

    This sucks... What a great advocate... and such a great sense of humor among the seriousness. Hope he keeps tweeting at least! Hate to see Countdown go, but wish him well...

    January 21, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PJ

    DARN!!!!! I can't believe MSNBC severed ties with Keith. I think they're making a big mistake. There's really no reason for me to watch them. I guess he spoke too much of the truth.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ray

    This is crazy!!! They will lose a lot of viewers, dumb move!!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glenn Beck

      Later you P-O-S....hope you rot

      January 21, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
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