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. JOY

    This news makes me sick! Keith Olbermann was the voice of truth for what is going on in this country, not those people on Faux Noise! Hope CNN picks him up!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  2. rwr

    This guy is a brainless twit....maybe he can go to France

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

      or maybe you can go to france.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blagoliuff

      Only such a "brainless twit" would diss France. Without France there would be no United States of America. One word: Lafayette. You might learn about him and how critical France was in forming this country at some point if you ever make it to, I dunno, the 3rd grade?

      January 21, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kat Mora

      Only brainless twits think that

      January 21, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jasper

    Good riddance!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dave

    He was an idiot and I agree with some of his politics.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kat Mora

      Maybe the words he used were to hard for you to understand.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jeff tennis

    what's the story behind this, it came out of left field? he was the only reason to watch msnbc. a great loss for everybody into politics.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mc

    I hope he goes back to ESPN. Dont like his "news" but realy did like him doing sports.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  7. AJ

    CNN, please hire Olbermann. Can you also lure Matthews, Maddow, O'Donnell, Guthrie, and Todd? Then I wouldn't have to watch MSNBC at all!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mike

    Comcast is not a fan I guess?

    January 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  9. conservative7

    low ratings.....REAL LOW why he quit. There is the scoop.

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

      Another GOP liar. Keith had 1,000,000+ viewers last night. He lead all other cable news shows except Fox.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blagoliuff

      You clearly have no idea what you are talking about but I have a good idea that you're pretty versed in propaganda.

      January 21, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. monique

    I am officially boycotting MSNBC. Such obvious dirty corporate politics. Keith can do better!!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. grok it

    Somehow this is Liz Lemon's fault.....cabletown! Damn you!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. keithfan

    Say it ain't so Joe! Someone should pick him up immediately!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  13. J.S.

    He is leaving because the Comcast deal has been approved. They are going to clean house. MSNBC ratings are the worst on cable TV. I don't know whether he will catch on anywhere else, but we haven't heard the last of him.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. PJ

    Yeah, I would watch CNN if they put Keith on. I used to watch CNN before I switched to MSNBC. I'm really at a loss here. Don't know what I'm going to do. I hope someone picks him up quick! I'm having withdrawal symptoms already!

    January 21, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • George

      I'm in the same boat 🙁

      January 21, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tam

      Me too! I really like Rachel & Lawrence too tho. Keith will always hold a special place tho. Where else could he go? He's done so much good. The free health clinics, and the victims of government & RW politics...

      January 21, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Judi Goodwin

    I love Keith Olbermann but will now watch Spitzer and Parker or Nancy Grace. I hope Keith is picked up by CNN.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
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