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. Lenexa

    Not going to miss him. Seriously people, if he had something to say that we wanted to hear, he would still have a job. Not to many people were watching him. Look up the ratings. There is a real reason liberal TV and radio fails.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jillib

    Olberman will still be out there, he's not going to fade away. I'm disappointed that he won't be on MSNBC any longer, but I continue to listen/watch Olberman wherever he ends up. I would hope that msnbc wouldn't change, but since the merger those hopes are fading. What good will our media be when it's nothing more than propaganda. None.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. wew


    January 21, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Atomic Mom

    Jerk. Now I have to miss you????

    January 21, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tard

    Lookie! Another flaming liberal waves bye-bye in preparation for 2012!

    January 21, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teresa

      Is there a " re" before your name?

      January 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. lisha coleman


    January 21, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bhari

      Hah! No one else is watching MSNBC either. That's why they are making changes.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. artbabe

    Keith, I will follow you to whichever network you decide to move to. I'll be Rachel, Chris, Lawrence, and Ed will all come with you. You are the anchor. You tie it all together. There is no interest in MSNBC without you.

    Good Luck-
    Luck Help us All

    January 21, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bonnie

    Keith Olbermann treason trash, fired, let him really burn, we don't need you, and where are the marshmellows when there is a good fire?

    I am equal opportunity basher, both liberal and conservative. Both are in bad need of attention to be re-alined with their heads cutoff. Figure of speech,
    How bad can both of these parties get, they are at their worse I have seen in them in my 55 years of politics.
    Can we vote the parties out of exsistence to save the country?

    January 21, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Army Man

    Losing Keith tonight was like an unexpected kick in the gut. Keith is a great man and I hope Comcast pays dearly. Anerson Cooper look out, Comcast might be comming for CNN next.

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

    I haven't listened to or watched Kieth since he left ESPN... and I sure as hell don't watch the cafones on Faux "News".

    And NBC stands for "Nothing But Crap"...

    January 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Pete Sessa

    Your employer blows you out it's because the ratings were in the trash can. He was as arrogant as he was stupid. It's a great combo for the left. I'm sorry he's leaving, though. A few more points down in the ratings and MSNBC would be ready for bailout.

    We can only hope he takes his particular brand of slimy journalism over to CNN so he drop the ratings there too. He is the perfect anchor. Right to the bottom every time.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bill davis

    It is all about ratings, no one was really there watching...anyone should be able to beat Mr Bill..

    Should have been a little more fair and balanced....people want the real story,

    Who wants ot listen to an old sportscaster rooting for his team, they ant the real play action...

    It was time for this old man to move on the listeners had....

    Use to be one...

    January 21, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Orbit21

    Oh, Keith Olbermann is gone? Yawn. Who's next, Rachel Maddow? Those sneaky conservatives must be behind this.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • penomegaly

      It's obvious you're a republican yanking chains.... Keep up the good work....

      January 21, 2011 at 11:51 pm | Report abuse |
  14. plo1965

    This information made my day, week, month....woo hoo! PTL!

    January 21, 2011 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John G

    R.I.P. Keith Olbermann. You won't be missed, EVER!

    January 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
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