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. Harry Paratestes

    For the trolls.

    If you disagree with somebody call them Nazi's and incite people to violence against them, it's the RIGHT thing to do.

    Ask Master Limbaugh he'll tell you.

    He will also tell you that the republican party is the party looking out for you, but look at the facts. The party looking out for the guy who makes $50,000,000 a year is not the party looking out you. Rush is Making $50,000,000 per year and tricking the weak minded into supporting the party that makes you pay his share of the taxes. I would not have a problem with that if the only people who paid his taxes were the people who thought it was a good idea to pay his taxes. Why does the GOP always vote to cut education Funding? So that we can create more mindless drones to vote conservative next generation.

    All Keith was trying to do was help educate you people but you probably hated anybody who tried to teach you while you were in school also.

    Go ahead and troll my comments, show your true IQ.

    Some of us are here to show our respect for Keith, the others are here to show how brainwashed they are by Fox.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • dhsjks

      What a complete laugh...respect for Keith. Respect for a complete loser...what a moron you must be...

      January 21, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tommy

      excellent comment thanx

      January 21, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ivann

      Sad night for America!!!

      January 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • faux 'ewes' sheeple are brain-washed

      lOl @ dsjhks showing up on cue 🙂

      January 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miguelito

      To present yourself as not brainwashed by calling others brainwashed defeats the purpose of your attempt to create support for your ideas. Why would you result to name calling and rhetoric if you had a valid point that you could articulate?

      January 21, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sternberg

      You think Limbaugh makes $50mil, and you or I are paying his taxes? You even admit it?
      Then you pretend you get to try insulting someone elses intelligence?
      You never were the smartest kid in your 2nd grade class, so why do you think anyone would take your opinion seriously now?

      January 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • itsmyturn

      Great comment, thank you Harry. Of course people who refuse to see beyond their noses will start with the attacks. Just go visit FOX and enjoy yourselves. I am always stunned how folks who work hard and don't make loads of money can support these lying, greedy, conniving right-wingers-I am convinced it is all about one issue-a nation of one issue voters-brilliant! Anyway, Keith was the highlight and now the cable is definitely out of my life. Gave it up at home and now no reason to go watch it at the cafe. Your too good for them, Keith.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • itsmyturn

      Interesting screen name, Harry. lol. @ southern style: WHAT?

      January 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • faux 'ewes' sheeple are brain-washed

      Sternberg the faux 'ewes' sheeple said –

      "You think Limbaugh makes $50mil, and you or I are paying his taxes? You even admit it? Then you pretend you get to try insulting someone elses intelligence? You never were the smartest kid in your 2nd grade class, so why do you think anyone would take your opinion seriously now?"


      YES, Rush gets paid crazy money!
      YES we are paying his taxes when the RepubliCAN'T party holds struggling americans hostage to get their tax cuts for the rich extended which directly impacts the deficit. you remember the deficit, right? that's the thing your ridiculous party pretends to care about when it comes to social justice programs or things like the $6 million 9/11 healthcare first responder bill – but that they IGNORE when catering to their rich corporate campaign contributors.

      capice? no? have someone smarter explain it to you.
      stand outside of an elementary school at 3pm when they close, i'm sure a school kid could help you out. 😉

      January 22, 2011 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
    • harmoni

      Keith, you will be missed.
      Keith used FACTS that the brainwashed still can't handle. Goodbye, and Good Luck, hope to see you soon somewhere else.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Bonnie

      Tv got rid of another exetremist dirtbag, no honest point from him, slanted like Asain eyes, and I am Asian

      January 22, 2011 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Michael G.

      Limbaugh signed an eight year deal. $38 million per year plus a $100 million signing bonus. Do the math. It comes to $50.5 million a year. Sounds like another middle class working stiff, right?

      January 22, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • S.M. SMITH

      I couldn't have said it better.....AMEN TO YOU BROTHER.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  2. Robert Wells

    Im sorry, I never saw his show. I thought he was a sportscaster(?)

    January 21, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • dhsjks

      He thought he was a sportscaster, but those who know sports turned him off ages ago...

      January 21, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |

    I'm never watching MSNBC again. Olbermann was what made it all worth it. What a bunch of schmucks.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. iceaxdave

    Walter Cronkite – Dan Rather / Rachel Madow = Keith Olbermann...the equation is accurate.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jason

    This was obviously a foolish ultraconservative move by Comcast. I predicted this a week ago. Well, I have news for them. I wont watch anything in their 8pm slot now. They can lose ratings for all I care! I'm angry, but it is tempered by the idea, that soon they will realize they just lost a ratings Bonanza in Keith! I dont think Maddows absence from her own show was coincidence this evening.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dhsjks

    This guy was a complete jerk. Not only did he know nothing about sports, but he knew less about world affairs. He is a worthless piece of s..t as a commentator. His value add had only to do with how loud he shouted, nothing to do with reality. He was only liked by the lunatic left, not the real left.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Get it Right!

      Keith is the man! And pointing out hate mongering losers is what made him special.... Rush, Beck and Palin together could not come up with enough intelligance in their pinky compared to him. What a sad day to see him go but i look forward to when he comes back. He's a man of integrity, honor and compassion for real americans not pshyco, hate mongering, gun totting bible hugging hicks that anything that isn't as dull as them.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • J. Williams

      You don't like K. O. that's fine. State your case like a mature adult. Quit spewing juvenile trollish crap. Or don't say anything at all. Because right now their are plenty f us on the left who feel betrayed by MSNBC.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  7. nolongeradem

    Rachel Maddow, Chris Matthews, Lawrence O'Donnell and Ed Schultz should be next. Whatever happened to "Real News"? If MSNBC would part ways with the above then the spin would stop on MSNBC! I quit watching them 3 years ago.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harry Paratestes

      The spin from Newscorp (Faux "News") is causing the geopolitical structure of the United States to collapse, Keith was the best source of backspin we had. Msnbc you no longer rate as an all CAPS name.

      Unfortunately I have noticed that Comcast is in bed with fox news, this blog is now in bed with fox news. Anyone know who owns Dish Network?

      January 22, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kaycee Mbaise

    Now we know that you can not be the voice for the voiceless and be in the media. You can not be an advocate for poor and negleglected and be in the media business. Keith told too much of the trught that the rich and mighty did not want out there. Keith exposed a lot of lies and hypocracies and at such he had to go. Keith, you were the only reason I ever tuned to MSNBC now that you are gone from there so also is my humble self. Keep the faith and continue to tell the truth were ever you go.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • SpiritbearNY


      January 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mo


      January 22, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • ad rem

      Ah, nothing like being a "voice for the voiceless" and an advocate for the "poor and neglected" while making $7.5M a year. It's always been interesting to me that the people who scream the loudest about the partisanship of Fox News are also the biggest fans of Olbermann, Maddow, et al. Flip sides of the same coin. All this talk about divisive rhetoric from the left while giving nothing but praise to their versions of Rush and Beck.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill Olbereilly

      He was an advocate for no one and a voice for himself. I doubt he cared one doubt about anyone but himself. Maybe he thought he did, but I'm not even sure about that. He was a partisan, take no prisoners media a–hole, who didn't care about truth or fairness or who he hurt. Good riddance. O'reilly, Limbaugh are no different. The only difference is they have a little more talent.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:17 am | Report abuse |
  9. KAHN

    I really tried watching Keith Olbermann and Maddow shows. But I just couldn't.

    When you can't pull in a million viewer consistantly in the demographic, it's time to find something else to do.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • MAD

      Unfortunately, not pulling in millions has much less to do with Olberman and/or Maddow than it has to do with an ignorant American public that loses interest easily. Those individuals watch fox to be entertained when they should be watching Olberman and Maddow to be informed. Too bad. MSNBC's loss.

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

    keith is an intelligent man unlike those on fox and cnn.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • dhsjks

      What planet have you been living on????

      January 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harry Paratestes

      Wow, really?

      Obviously not from the fox planet. The enterprise took one orbit and determined there was no intelligent life in the audience.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
    • ktpinnacle

      Same one I'm living on.

      The GOP is in constant projection mode, as are you.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |

    Sorry Keith, this happens just like our politicians are working on States claiming bankruptcy and then what will happen to retirement funds for state employees and teachers? No one wants to hear the truth anymore. We will stop watching MSNBC because you are not on there anymore. Thanks for your honesty and we will miss you. Hurry back to some network so we can start watching you again.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:26 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Warren Hastings

    Keith Olbermann Leaving Countdown
    This is unbelievable and without Keith we have no reason to watch or support MSNBC.

    We are all still in shock and it will not sink in until Monday when we find ourselves at 8 PM and can’t find him. We watched his show every day it has been on when at home and even while out of town ….

    There is no replacement that could compare and MSNBC can go to blazes.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. themo

    All you folks that panned, derided, joked about, made derogatory remarks should be ashamed of yourselves.
    If any of you had a brain, one inkling of what's going on in this corrupt world you'd know we have lost a good
    & honest man reporting the news! Shame on you for writing such crap! Get a life will ya?

    January 21, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ELH

    Neither the worst nor the best–just one of many talking heads that on occasion have something to say that is worth listening to but in the main, I would rather read the WSJ, The Washington Post or the LA Times.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. justgoaway

    Don't go away sad, just go away. Sent from my ms ifrickuover

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