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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  1. Browne24M

    Keith Olbermann – Finally, the "Worst Person in the World" is gone! Hopefully, his brother Rachel is next!

    January 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teresa

      Browne are very pathetic.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Marco

    Don't worry you Olbermann fans...I hear he is interviewing at FoxNews to be that guy in the men's bathroom that gives you a hand towel after you wash your hands.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ladygrye

    I have noticed that it is the right wingers busy doing the name calling and personal denigration of the liberals. They can't attack the truths so they try to denigrate the messengers... typical. It really shows how the educational system neglected to teach people to put forth their views and ideas on their merits instead of bashing the people who put forth different view points. The right seems to postulate the same talking points ad infinity without deviation from the corporate supplied bullet points.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. alientech

    Not a big loss for the Left, there are many more like him in the media.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bianca

    Keith, will surely be missed by me and all who would viewed Countdown ... he told it like it is, I don't agree with Comcast (NBC) for not re-newing his contract. He will do fine and get on a network that will truly appreciate his talent and honesty. The above comment says it all " A sneaky way to fire a HERO" ,,,who is next Morning Joe with all his flip-flopping and overtalking his co-host & guest.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. BoycottMSNBC

    MSNBC just lost a viewer, sorry Rachel I will tune in once you move networks.

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

    All, just talked with Keith, he is fine he is taking a bath and he might never leave his tub. Ray and Ed he did ask you men to stop buy.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Maddog

    Good, we got rid of another obvious democrate. Now, let's get down to business. Anybody in for another preemptive strike and subsequent nation building? Bring in on, all you peace loving liberals. I won't be happy till we spend ALL the social security money on actions like that.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marty in KY

      Sorry, the socialist have maxed out the credit card and we're broke.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Patrick

    Proving, once again, that the so called "liberal media" is a myth. It is right wing and has been for years. Most of it is owned by a right winger, who isn't even from the USA. What is he really like? I have a hint for you. He is all for massive immigration to the USA but his media generally supports closing the boarders. Why? Because he plays the right wing like the suckers they are. He is in favor of whatever will make him the most money. Conservatives, generally, are just useful idiots for the super rich.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • faux 'ewes' sheeple are brain-washed


      January 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
  10. faux 'ewes' sheeple are brain-washed

    Goodness gracious there’s a new study –

    fox “news” is the most DISTRUSTED news organization of all

    ^ “Fox News is the most distrusted name in news, while PBS is the most trusted, according to a poll by Public Policy Polling.”

    “A year ago a plurality of Americans said they trusted Fox News. Now a plurality of them don't. Conservatives haven't moved all that much- 75% said they trusted it last year and 72% still do this time around. But moderates and liberals have both had a strong increase in their level of distrust for the network- a 12 point gain from 48% to 60% for moderates and a 16 point gain from 66% to 82% for liberals. Voters between left and center tend to be more trusting of the media across the board, which is why a fair number of them were still rating Fox favorably even a year ago at this time. But it looks like with a lot of those folks it has finally crossed the line to being too political to trust.”

    “All three of the traditional major networks- NBC, CBS, and ABC- have seen an increase in their trust levels over the last year. NBC continues to be the most trusted of the trio, breaking even this year at 41% who trust it and 41% who don't. It may be MSNBC's liberal tilt that vaults its parent network to the top overall. Conservatives distrust all three of the networks at pretty similar levels- 66% for ABC and NBC, 67% for CBS. But liberals range from 52% who trust ABC to 61% who trust CBS all the way up to 67% who trust NBC. It's interesting to see that faith in these long standing organizations is on the rise but it may be that in a new media world where there's so much more information available than there's ever been before folks are looking to places with a proven track record of getting it right.”

    “Democrats trust everything but Fox. Republicans don't trust anything but Fox. And independents don't trust much of anything. For Democrats 73% trust PBS, 64% NBC, 61% CBS, 60% CNN, 56% ABC, and 22% Fox. For Republicans 67% trust Fox, 29% PBS, 22% CNN, 21% NBC, 17% ABC, and 15% CBS. For independents 44% trust PBS, 36% Fox, 34% CNN, 33% NBC, 27% CBS, and 26% ABC.”

    Fox News was the ONLY network that saw its distrust levels increase from last year's study by a HUGE margin! Last year, 37% of respondents said they didn't trust Fox–a nine-point difference from the current 2011 poll that has 46% not trusting it now.

    ^ HAHAHA! XD

    So basically for BRAINWASHED RepubliCAN’T BAGGER FAUX “EWES” SHEEPLE, the entire world is against them & “FOX” is the only vehicle reporting the “facts” <– lOl! 😀

    And despite FOX “NEWS” toting the results of last years study in the majority of their in-house advertising & PR, Public Policy Polling (PPP) has suddenly become a “left-wing” sham organization a part of the “LAME-STREAM” Media. <– lOl! 😀

    incidentally, this is exactly how “CULTS” operate, isolating their victim from the outside influence of who could otherwise diminish the power & control the CRAZY CULT LEADER has over their sheeple…


    What’s truly hilarious are the wha-wha-wha-whining comments from the faux ‘ewes’ sheeple crying about the “illegitimacy” of the poll because of it’s lack of methodology


    The methodology is always included and/or accessible for legitimate polls & PPP is no different & provided a link to it upfront…

    so were the majority of faux ‘ewes’ sheeple trolls really THAT VERY STUPID as to not see or understand it? Or, like their “trusted” fake-work fox, were they just INTENTIONALLY LYING & SPINNING reality in the hopes of discrediting the FACTUAL RESULTS of this study because it revealed their precious media vehicle as disreputable? And by extension, they themselves as abject MORANS for relying on it to get truthful information?

    Ahhh, once again, the age old question of the chicken or the egg comes to mind –
    are faux ‘ewes’ sheeple RepubliCAN’T BAGGERS stupid because they watch fox? or do they watch fox because they’re stupid? inquiring minds want to know!

    January 21, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marty in KY

      You should really get that venom and hate thing checked, you'll be much happier. Even though I will support your side the right to say what you want, I expect you do the same for those you disagree with. Yes, I even support the lamestream media to spew their mis-information, after all, it does make finding the truth a whole lot easier.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. adam

    Goodbye, Keith, or please let me say, so long... Thanks for speaking a truth I understand, for giving me hope that someone out there with a pulpit from which to speak sided with the interests of the common man at heart.

    Good night, Keith, and good luck.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • penomegaly

      Not to worry. I here he will now take some time to get his autism treated....Perhaps he'll resurface
      once he recovers....

      January 21, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Paden

    We all know why Olbermann got the Axe, because he's a toxic, ultra left wing activist who hide behind the facade of a news reporter.
    My guess is Rachael is next.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Shrek, Santa Barbara

    Love Keith. Interesting that those on the right are thanking God at the news. Yes, I'm a Lefty, but I won't begrudge the right their apostles–rash, hannity, o, dooshy, et al–two sides to every coin. Don't belittle God! I think She's got more important things to do than intervene on a stupid network decision. Go Giffords!

    January 21, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Steve

    Don't recognize him. I've never watched msnbc cause its part owned by Microsoft and I'm not interested in looking at the blue screen of death.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. CitizenJP

    Keith, my family will miss you very much. You are one of the most honest, reasonable, revealing voice with the guts to fearlessly state the facts, television has ever seen. I am sure that MSNBC's unparalleled loss will be someone else's (come on CNN) monumental gain. We will be eagerly waiting for your return. Best wishes to you!

    January 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm | Report abuse |
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