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. El Sarcatico

    Oh don't worry about Keith, he'll be fine. I'm sure you'll see him on some late night infomercial hawking the latest in 80s song compilations, or maybe a erectile dysfunction spot....or maybe he'll be seen on Venice Beach, on roller skates, explaining to stupefied visitors the advantages of owning Sham-Wows. I'm just looking forward to the first mugshot of him on Smoking Gun, disheveled and bruised from a fight in a public restroom.

    ta ta Keith...

    January 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jay

    This guy is a POS.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. karen

    one by one they fall. Good really will win over evil.

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

      Another simple mind. When did you lose it?

      January 22, 2011 at 12:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Richie

    Sadly Glenn Beck called this. On an episode of Countdown Keith mentioned that Beck was saying that Comcast would get rid of Olbermann and make MSNBC into another purely neutral news channel like CNN. Next they'll cut Maddow.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. carl

    I'm not sure what I enjoy more. The fact that the angry clown is gone or that all 260 viewers he had will be hanging themselves tonight

    January 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • ktpinnacle

      Have another beer and try to remember the last decent thought you had.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
  6. ken baldwin

    Good riddance to MSNBC's very own "The Worst Person in the World."
    I hope that bully of a nutbucket Ed Shultz is next.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dave Richman

    Countdown with Keith Olbermann........................Oh I get it countdown to the end of another liberal progressive pundit.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Why

    How is this breaking news?

    January 21, 2011 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mauri


    January 21, 2011 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mikola

    He was unkind to many. He really should not be on the air. I think we would be better off if we returned to real newsmen, rather than to have people try to guide and interpret the meaning of news for us. However, even though he wasn't that good of a newsman, he is certainly no worse than Bill O'Rielly. It would be nice if making money because of how we present the news, was not as important as the news itself.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John G

    R.I.P. Keith Douchbagg.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jo Ann

    Keith, tell me it is not so.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Bill

    Wish this could be reconsidered, as a political junky watched and was entertained nearly everyday, now who will ask Mr. Boehner where the jobs are.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • faux 'ewes' sheeple are brain-washed

      AMEN Bill... AMEN.

      January 21, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mac316

    kieth o is a very talented person it a shame that he hates life so much I wonder if he was abused as a child he is an angry man deep down seeded anger hope he gets help

    January 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • ktpinnacle

      And I hope you get help to improve your critical thinking and typing skills.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:24 am | Report abuse |
  15. Monica

    I am distraught over this news. MSNBC is making a big mistake. I hope I will be able to see/hear Keith on another channel in the near future. I love spending my evenings with The Ed Show, Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow; a great line-up with thought-provoking commentaries and interesting guests.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
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