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. pal armstrong

    Listen up people GOD is in control

    January 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. ChicagoNick

    It's a sad day in Liberal Mudville, the Mighty Olbie has struck out.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tim

    Finally, never watch it and now I know why he is gone.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. James Devers

    It's about time he leaves. Hopefuly. He is gone from the public eye for good

    January 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  5. clayusmcret

    Good riddance.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jill

    Very wary of Comcast.........what do they do next?
    Keith has integrity, courage, tells it "like it is."
    He will be sorely missed; so sorry to see him leave MSNBC.
    GIve us a name to contact so we can complain directly.

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

      Of all the partisan ideologues, on the right and left, he spewed the most "vitriol." At least BI'll O'Reilly and Rachel Maddow look like they enjoy what they do. Keith does nothing but focus a scowl at the camera and put blame on people who don't agree with him.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  7. John TN

    I really enjoyed his show and he always based his comments on facts I could check. Unlike some of the FOX CROCKS that simply spew nonsense. I wish him the best.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gretchen

      Right on!

      January 21, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Pallamus

    Miracles happen after all! Hell, yes!!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Timo

    Ahhhhhhhh I posted a long comment earlier, but I used my full name. hey, am just an honest guy .....& old! LOL! I am NOT a usual blogger & I come from a generation , or #2 ago ....we used only the "print media." I didn't know how to "CANCEL" it so i reported it as "abuse." MY COMMENT : Anyone hear WHO will replace this 8pm time slot on msnbc ????

    January 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  10. MarkO

    Hopefully, they will get of that LEZBO now!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. fail safe

    No please do not show up on CNN. MSNBC still has Ray Madow and Mr ED!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joshua Ludd

    And thus goes yet another voice for truth in media. Way to go, CNN for calling him a "liberal" commentator and then trying to imply that this was the result of his suspension over relatively small campaign donations.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Duop in Colorado

    What a lost to MSNBC and its viewers; Wow!!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jo Ann

    Keith, tell me it is not so.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Larry

    First Tim and now Keith.....our family is just sick over him leaving.

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