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. Jon

    Haha Keith!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  2. norma wilkison

    I'm always amazed at the people who will write in a nasty comment on a program or person when logic would tell you that if you don't like someone or his program,WHY DO YOU WATCH IT? If I don't like something, I move on. No need to comment!!!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John

    I will miss you Keith. I am signing off MSNBC.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. USA

    WOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOO the extreme far left windbag is gone....maybe democrats like me can gain some credibility again......MSNBC needs to boot, ED next.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
  5. vezapa

    I am enjoying all of the Keith haters sounding off about how happy they are and how awful he is.....hmmm why were all of you watching him tonight??? I can't stand FOX and therefore never watch it and the fools who anchor their programs. You must have enjoyed something about Keith or you would not have kept tuning in! MSNBC you have lost your mind!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gasguy

      Hmm... maybe it was that he told the truth – and didn't lie just to boost his ratings.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    MSNBC just made the stupidest decision they have ever made. Keith was the voice of the liberals against a full stable of brain dead commentators for the conservative right. No doubt he will be picked up and I hope it is CNN. Keith's intelligence is far and above that of O'reilly, Rush, and the clown Beck. People are tired of them. Tired of hearing the same crap every day. Keith was a voice in the dark that came out loudly and didnt mince words. Wherever he goes, thats the news channel I and many, many others will turn to.Not that horribly one side news service Fox news. Fair and balanced. Yeah.

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

    I can't wait for the reason to come out. I bet it will be juicy.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bye Bye Keith

    What a bunch of crybabies. I hope you will all learn to cope with honest media now...

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

      Honest Media? You sir are not just a moron, You are an Oxymoron. I am assuming you mean FAUX news, they can't even spell the name of their network correctly.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. JimBo

    He was just as biased towards the Left as FOX is to the Right. As a centrist I found both only half the real story. He was however entertaining in his own self centered way.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Frazier Hughes

    He's an awesome talent. MSNBC'S LOSS. Super Creative. There's no replacement.

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

      Parasites are everywhere. He's nothing special that's for sure.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jennard

    Bill O 1 Keith 0

    At least there's still ED and Rachel for Bill to embarass, was getting kinda bored watching Keith get pied in the face.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dale

    Keith Olbermann ...THE WORST person in THE WORLDDDD!

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

      I used to like that segment, but then Keith got into a rut and just placed Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly on the list each night. Yawn! We got it Keith!! Just move on, already.

      I think he also lost support from the left due to his continued comments against the war now that Obama is running things. No support from either side, so MSNBC took him out.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Overjoyed

    Thanks Comcast! When can we expect to say goodbye to Rachel and Ed? Soon I hope.

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

    Goodbye you liberal POS. The most slanted reporting that I've ever witnessed. Hopefully slobbering Chris Mathews is next!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. larry worley

    most of keith's show was bad mouthing o'reilly. he does not hold a candle to bill, and that is why he gone. o'reill stompled on anothe compeitor. bring on the next one.

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