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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  1. sonny

    I beg you Keith Please do not leave.. I watch ypur show almost daily . Your are the voice of the people like me. I will miss you show very much.. I do not know what to say?...My sincere thanks.. all the very best to you.. Live long healthy and happy.

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

      He's the voice of ignorant sheep everywhere?

      January 21, 2011 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Except he doesn't call you sheep or idiots, he just reflects a major portion of the American publics sentiment. You shouldn't just discount it with the swipe of a keystroke, just as I shouldn't discount your position as it reflects a vast number of Americans too.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin g

      I don't think it was his choice.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jom

      hehehe that was so gay 🙂

      January 21, 2011 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  2. larry csehil

    Never seen that many people crying over an idiot before

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

      Good point larry

      January 21, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • gary24fan

      I did, it was Reagan's funeral.

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

      That's ok Larry, as an idiot yourself, we'll cry for you too.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • gwats

      You just don't have the balls to admit that maybe your take on things is wrong, Larry.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Dan

    This is the same network that brings you "Outsourced", the funny, laughable sitcom about our American jobs going to those wacky Indians in Bombay. Stay tuned.

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

      NBC is a different network than CNBC. So, Fox News is the same network that brings you The Simpsons? The Disney Channel is the same that brings you ABC's Nightline? Nickelodeon is the same net work that brings you Jersey Shore? Get ahold of yourself.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Boosh!

      January 21, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SANDMAN

    ONE ADDITIONAL LEVEL OF RESPECT FOR K.O. LOOK FORWARD TO THE NEXT CHAPTER

    January 21, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jessica Stiletto Heels

    Where ever you land Keith, be it Web or Radio I'll be tuning in. Until the rest of your two year contract is paid out by MSNBC (serves them right to suffer) I'll wait to see you on the Telly again. Fire-Fire burning bright...Keith let no one dim your flame.

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

      Jeez Lemming.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Bailey

      Hey fred, eat effluent and cross the pale.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marie

      We are truely sorry that Keith is leaving We love your program. Your program will be missed, the content and presentation were very rational (not so much to the right). We will NOT be watching CNBC anymore. Mr.Olberman God Bless you and good luck. Thank you very much for " VOICING OUR OPINION ". Go to CNN and take Pier Morgan's spot ,his not needed there- his program is a WASTE of TIME. Many, many thanks Mr. Olberman !!! P.S. We Love Rachel's program also...

      January 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. larry csehil

    Never seen that many people crying over an idiot before. All I got to say is WOW.

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

      If you had have the sense of Keith Olbermann you wouldn't be making ridiculous comments.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      That is probably all you know how to say!

      January 21, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Robyn Harris

    One more voice of sanity, truth and honor silenced. Mr Olbermann, you will be sorely missed.
    Just how much right wing reactionary bias will networks force into their Faux News reports.
    Well, I will still watch Rachel Maddow as long as she is present, until MSNBC forces me to sign off their network entirely.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • 91rete8

      Yep, Rachel goes – I go.

      MSNBC is starting the down hill slide.

      I enjoyed Keith because he show BOTH sides..

      There is no reason that MSNBC can give that I can support or BELIEVE...

      MSNBC was better CNN ever since Ted Turner "sold-out" BUT now a down hill slide

      January 21, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • rm

      Wow! Far left is as dumb as far right. MSNBC = FOX = CRAP

      January 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sick of YOU

    Big mistake COMCAST... Put a lid on your mouth FOX SPEWS idiots

    January 21, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. vibes412

    Are you serious? Keith was the best thing that happen to MSNBC, well Racheal is still there.

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

    It's MSNBC... who really cares? Maybe he can get a job as a reporter for Granma International

    January 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • jt

      umm... EVERYONE'S "granma" watches Fox. That's the peoblem.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • jt

      LOL. let the spelling police step in. Meant "problem".

      January 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mary Ann

    I won't be watching MSNBC anymore. Keith is the best and I really wonder who is behind this.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Send em to NPR he'd fit in there

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

      problem... sorry

      January 21, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • KAY E. TUCKER

      Mary Ann, I am joining you, I watched Keith almost every broadcast......I also am wondering who is behind this.
      Good Luck to you Keith.........

      January 21, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wanda Schideman

      Keith gets the FACTS across loud and clear - so what if he's dramatic about it? - It's still the facts. Hmm - haven't there been rumors about the possibility that there will be a press secretary change? The president would not have worry about the message not getting across with Olbermann in that spot! Keith has the facts and he knows how to get the attention of the people.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. AOH

    Great news, now if only Maddow, Hannity and Beck follow his lead and go away then we just might return to getting actual unbiased news instead of listening to some angy whining ultra liberal or conservative. Both groups need to get out of the cable news business. They have no right to spew their garbage on TV and mask it as "news".

    January 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat

      He is being replaced by someone even more liberal! A self-described Socialist will be bringing his The Last Word into that spot. Great news! If Keith has to go, at least he has a good replacement.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      The thing about Keith's show is that it was decidedly more fact-based than what you get from the right. The U.S. still allows people to make money from death, destruction, and the looting of America. The echo chamber shows are part of that – making money from dividing the country. A society without morality and basic values self-destructs if money becomes the sole compass. Ironically, Keith spoke very passionately and intelligently about that.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • VeryOldMan

      Maddow is not the same as Beck and Obermann. She provides more information and analysis, and she does not scream.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. James Cleymore

    Good riddance you boring, boring dolt. I hope he leaves the country so I never have to see that idiot again.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • pat

      Why did you have to see him at all? You could have switched channels! You must have secretly liked the guy.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jon

      Pat- James is talking about the cherry-picked segments he would see on Fox most likely. He probably never watched Keith's show for more than a minute or two.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Justin Livingsworth

    There goes Jon Stewart firing people again! Silly guy!

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

    What is MSNBC thinking?!?!? CNN...give Keith a home and INSTANTLY inherit a large and LOYAL audience! Crushed here in Nashville, TN 😦

    January 21, 2011 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • dcruz1122

      KO was the only reason i watched msnbc. I guess i won't be watching it anymore.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • walpurgis

      I'm with you on that. The only reason I watched Maddow was because her show followed Keith's. Comcast just scr* wed the pooch with this move. It will be interesting to see how much more Comcast is going to do to destroy what was, until tonight, a profitable endeavour. I expect they'll water down the remaining shows until the hosts leave of their own accord or the ratings tank and they too are pulled.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
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