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. DARBY


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

    Hidden agenda. OMG it sounds sooooooo ominous...... Let's see.... Keith puts it right out there for all to hear. That would NOT BE a hidden agenda. Beck, and O'wrongly THEY would be the idiots with the hidden agendas. Fact is, they are so stupid and so biased that their hidden agendas are clear as day for any half wit to see. Oh, you are only a quarter wit. That explains your inability to appreciate truth and your eagerness to embrace the pathetic foxheads.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marty in KY

      "Hidden agenda", what the hell are you talking about??? Oh, I see, the truth is what scares you. Carry on.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. fail safe

    YES! We now have more time for re-runs of Lockup

    January 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Anthony in Tallahassee, FL

    Rush Limbaugh speaking he says. I never heard Keith O. speak that kind of language like bobbin head Rush does.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ramon F Herrera

    To those who are celebrating: So what exactly is your plan?? To hope that EVERYBODY with whom you disagree gets fired? Why don't you move to Cuba or North Korea??

    January 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. larry worley

    qwats, i am like you i think, i am rarely wrong, and those are my balls.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Tom

    Keith is a smart man. It is a shame because he had potential. Even though I agree with the liberal platform, he never made a fair attempt to represent both sides. At least O'Reiley and Maddow try to bring both sides into the discussion.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe in NC

      Potential? That is for teenagers and twenty somethings. This guy has been on TV for over 20 years. What exactly were you waiting for him to show? Get a clue.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TAN

    Good radiance ... Keith, take your brother
    Rachel Marrow with you. I'm sure the Communist News Network will hire you.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dana

      I hope Keith Olbermann and Dave Schwartz read this blog – Keith and Dave, PLEASE start your own news/weather channel!!!!

      January 22, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. Greg Bell

    Thank god this liberal windbag is off the air.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marty in KY

      As much as I agree with you, he has been one of the best reasons why the conservative moment has exploded in this nation. The louder and more critical the liberals spews their socialism the more the American people wake up from their apathy.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Phil

    I loved Keith on the air. My hopes are that MSNBC and Comcast get sick and die... I will NEVER watch anything on NBC again and I'm getting AT&T U-Verse for my tv.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe in NC

      Really? Get sick and die? What is wrong with you people?

      January 21, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ramon F Herrera

    The left hates ideas, the right, people.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DEB

    Kieth, since they were going to fire you anyhow- don't ya wish you'd done more independent journalism- lke covering UFO's and some of the Jesse Ventura CT stuff!

    The NATION is proud of you and THANKS you for your SERVICE- you are one of the VERY few vocies of reason and intelligence- and someone that TRUELY loves their country.

    will miss you everday!

    January 21, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ouray

      Keith Olberman missed....................NOT

      January 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. nathaniel lindsey

    I posted one a few moments ago, but I guess it too truthful.
    I wonder if hardball is next?

    January 21, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. voiceofreason

    Well his twin brother, Rachel is still there

    January 21, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. chrisn316

    all he was good for was getting your blood boiling...he excelled at that and telling half truths and smearing anyone who didn't possess a bleeding heart and a pair of Birkenstocks....

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