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. Phylllis, Denver, CO

    Apparently the TRUTH isn't welcome in the media any longer. There's so little for us liberals already, if this continues I'll have to start watching reality shows. Heaven forbit!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. maryln

    Will miss him he was my way of balancing that stupid Fox channel garbage and hate.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jtrauscht

    Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Keith. Your ranting has been a part of the problem in this country's discourse for years.

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

      And Beck's insane, paranoid rantings hasn't poisoned this country? Wake up and GROW UP.

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

    Goodbye MSNBC – Hello CNN – I guess I will be tuning to Anderson Cooper now –
    unless CNN does the smart thing and dumps that stupid Spitzer show and gives the 8:00 slot to Keith.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bradley Walker

    I shock to hear Keith Oberman is no longer with MSNBC. I'm really not suprise after his supension its never been the same for him and you can see it through his broadcast. Mr. Oberman it a man of many of words and not less. Mr.Oberman spoke the truth about whatever it is and we need a person like him who going to give the news and not sugar coat it. Some of these news station make up there news but Keith going to tell it like it really is and speak his mind about whatever he is speaking on. People are not stupid now days you just can't throw something at us and want us to believe it. Keith break it down as where everyone can comprehend. CNN we support you and we will support Keith Oberman. (Hint)

    January 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. turntexblue

    I told Keith people would rather believe LIES than the Truth.It must be the last of days,the prophecy is coming true,THE HATERS WIN AGAIN.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. sam


    January 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Len

    Keith Olbermann is perhaps the personification of courage in the media today. Rachel Maddow might be the best intellect, but that is taking nothing away from Mr. Olbermann. His straightforward take no prisoners approach to politics is what we need more of, not less. One can only worry what this portends now that Comcast has taken over NBC.

    We don't need more Rupert Murdoch's, and we certainly don't need more of Rush or Beck, or O'Reilly. None is worthy of the position of Olbermann's official wiper of the rear. We need a return to a real fairness doctrine, a return to honest reporting in the tradition of Cronkite and Murrow. We need people like Keith Olbermann to take down the present day McCarthy's (seee Palin, Bachman, Brewer, Cheney, Bush, and Guiliani. Heaven help us all if they come to power in 2012.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. S. Surrell

    It is abouit time he stopped spreading his particular version of hate.

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

      And when will Beck stop his? Oh that's right. It's DIFFERENT when someone you support does it. Wake up.

      January 21, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Rick

    I do hope that MSNBC does not use the extra hour of primetime to show another episode of Lockup.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. aymen

    It really sad he is the smartest in all MSNBC. For sure I’m no more fan of this station.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Marilyn

    Keith was only reason I ever watched CNBC so I will be on the lookout as to where he lands. Ed is boring and I never enjoyed him. Did enjoy Rachel for quite awhile but got bored with her also. Just been watching when Keith was on

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

    I feel bad for the 15 people who actually watched his show...his ratings were an obvious embarrassment to comcast

    January 21, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Don

    to F.Lampman. Ignorance? Beyond your diction, typing and spelling deficiencies, your incoherent thoughts really add nothing to this conversation. But thanks from the " left wing" for a bit of comic relief at a sad time. Idiot indeed!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Alice

    Good riddance and don't let the door hit you in the ______ on your way out.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • turntexblue

      Dont watch for the bus either,when you cross the street,hahaha

      January 21, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
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