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. Amore

    MSNBC fired Keith–I'm firing MSNBC!
    I'm boycotting that channel.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nick

    Maybe now I can watch MSNBC again, why did it take so long

    January 21, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ray

    Well CNN, I hope you're smart enough to see and excellent opportunity here.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Crickett

    Very disappointed that Keith is gone. I was side swiped. I did not see it coming. My husband and I look forward to watching him. Please someone from a liberal station get him. He is the best that will say it like it is.

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

      Well this should of been expected Comcast was not going to continue to put up with this foolishness much longer. Oberman is the most hateful and insulting man on the air and we should all rejoice he is gone and surely he was fired for good cause. CEO of NBC never really cared about MSNBC and they did what they wanted and ruined what little good MSNBC had many years ago. If they are smart he's gone for good.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vicky Woodhull

      I suggest CNN puts Keith in Anderson's slot. Anderson's been flat for at least two years. Let CNBC do its orange jumpsuit shows. Good luck. Good night.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Saratoga Joe

      It's a sad day. He told it like it is. He exposed the lies of FOX (FAUX) News and the Republican agenda. No doubt the new owners, COMCAST, and their right winged agenda and management, had something to do with it.
      We'll miss you Keith!

      January 21, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • humberto

      They got him, kinder and gentler

      January 21, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • gary

      kieth was every bit as extreme as Rush Limbaugh on the other side. He is outrageous, frequently irrational, sometimes just ignorant. But in the end I'm sure that it was his poor ratings that ended his show. Politically, we need to find a way back from the two extremes to the middle. The solutions that will work are in the middle.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • DC

      Surely there must be some place for a hateful spewer of fiction and spin...

      January 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • dahat92

      Crickett I agree we need him to be on somewhere and to still be able to watch him. He and Rachel were the only reason I watched the MSNBC but my hubby for it all. Now we have to keep an eye open to see where Keith is gonna pop up and head there to be faithful followers for him.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Comcast is one of the worst calbe companies there is. This is the beginning of NBC going down hill. To fire a great journalist like Keith is one of the stupidest things Comcast could have done.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Simon

      Comcast is by far the worst internet service provider. I can only imagine that the only reason they got the market share they have today is by their monopoly status in certain markets. I worked as a tech support analyst and it was a nightmare when anyone called with Comcast equipment/service.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Linda

      I have to agree with Cricket. My husband and I watch Keith Olbermann every night. We feel betrayed by MSNBC for letting him go. I don't think we will be tuning in to MSNBC any longer. The 8-9pm time slot has been destroyed!

      January 21, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ry

      Olbermann made his case by stating his opinion and backing that opinion by FACTS something on other news caster does. They give the opinion part, but ate short on facts. Keith will be missed but I'm sure his absence will be short lived. Any network with sense that wants to pick up rating (CNN) will quickly sign him to a new deal. I ( as a 28 ur old male, the most desirable demographic) will watch any network who signs him

      January 21, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I couldn't agree more. It's one of the things I liked about him the most–he was willing to say it like it is based on fact and common sense even though it contradicted what the government wanted us to believe. What amazes me is that fact and common sense is now viewed as rabid left-wing extremism. Go figure.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grace

      You're right. It's a shame. Keith was entertaining and intelligent. He told the truth in a way that didn't pull punches and the right hated him for it as evidenced by all the haters on this board. Good on him! May he land on his feet and may Comcast lose their shorts for this decision.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • MAL

      "Oberman is the most hateful and insulting man on the air." Let me tell you about this channel called fox news, many of their personal have made a name for themselves by spewing and invoking hate, racism and fear among their viewers. Oberman is nothing compared to the likes of Hannity, Beck, Palin and Carlson. Even as a liberal, his comments are not as strong as say Bill Maher.

      I assume you mean televised air, because Rush made some racist remarks regarding the Chinese this week and is known for being insensitive toward blacks and those with crippling diseases like Michael J Fox.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mark

    Addition by subtraction ...

    January 21, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    Remember when Rush Limbaugh ACTUALLY HAD A FOLLOWING?

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

      Rush has over a million listeners a day including me. LOL

      January 21, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      Rush is a moron.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lauren

      The only reason that Rush has over a "million" viewers is because of his domination on several radio stations!!!! not because he's "great" and viewers are shelling out money but because corporations pay top dollar to keep him there. they don't want the "crazy communist liberals" to take over, which may actually result in the blinders being taken off. 8 dollars an hour for everyone!!! yaaaaaaaaay!!!

      January 21, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    Well, I can't say I'll stop watching MSNBC, after all, Rachel is still there. Keith could be abrasive, and some of his special comments were over the top, but he was honest and open and championed good causes. He was noisy, but fun, and only occasionally tiresome. We need more people t make fun of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh!

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

      My God what program were you watching. It was impossible for him to find anything positive about anything. He was an abusive peron to the maximum and had little or no respect for anyone who disagreed with him. Disgusting individual

      January 21, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gasguy

      I agree. We will miss him.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      I wish they all would just go away. I think the polarization in american politics in good part is due to the extreme right and left wing influence in the media. You'd never know that the most liberal democrat and the most conservative republican in congress still agree on the majority of the issues. Why can't we start from that common ground? Answer: Ratings, dollar signs.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mindenite

    MSLSD dumping Olbermann... does it get any better? lol

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

      Yeah, watching that idiot Palin.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bmt

      Well said

      January 21, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scotty

      ya, maybe ur mother!

      January 21, 2011 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray

      Wow. You 'Lemmings' on the right have no idea of the peril your stupidity is going to take your county to. {peril means something bad by the way}

      January 21, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Claire

    Dropped Comcast last year and will no longer view MSNBC. Keith was one of the best. If your critics are celebrating it's because you were doing a great job. Hope to hear from you again SOON Mr. Olbermann.

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

      I also dumped Comcast last year. I'm sure they must have had something to do with this. I will miss Keith and hope he lands at another network sson.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • lisa

      agreed. there's no reason for me to watch msnbc any longer.

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

    I SALUT MSNBC for firing this jerk...... hahahahahahahah

    January 21, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • photoman1

      and I offer you the one finger salute

      January 21, 2011 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • SR P

      I hope they bring him to CNN. Edra go watch FOX-hahaha!!

      January 21, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • CJN

      takes one to know one.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Christine

    Another one bites the dust!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ed buck

    don't get mad, get even......Dump Comcast, get a dish and dsl.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • PJ

      Only reason we've kept Brighthouse (cable) so long was that they do carry MSNBC and Keith. Well, Dish Network is a lot cheaper, no reason not to change now. Keith and Countdown will be missed for all the honest posts noted above.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. David P

    I'M THROUGH WITH MSNBC. IF CNN WANTS A NEW VIEWER, BRING IN KEITH!

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

    Keith was IS the best! He'll be back. I'll never watch Faux News. MSNBC HUGE MISTAKE

    January 21, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bmt

      Keith, the best????? Put the cork back in the bottle and go to bed.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bmt

    This should have occurred 8 years ago

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