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. Free Thinker

    This is terrible news indeed. Olbermann was the loudest voice of reason in a crazy world overburdened with too many freakish right wing nutjobs bent on destroying our country in the name of their false deity. May he find a new home and get back on the air soon!!!!!

    At least we still have Maddow!!!!!!!!!! Hang in there Rachel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bonnie

    their is 30 million left on his contract and they have to pay him, ha ha ha Question did they fire him or did he leave? Because of new manafement? I am not sure, as I don't watch tv, I only read

    January 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bonnie

    hello I think they fired him

    January 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. faux 'ewes' sheeple are brain-washed

    Miguelito said "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?"

    sorry to burst your bubble (F)Right-Winger, but i articulated my pov citing factual evidence in support of it rather well in 2 different posts. READING IS FUNDAMENTAL.

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

    To all the people out there that think COMCAST is Republlican; think again.. COMCAST CEO made 12 donations last year and every single one went to a DEM, including Harry Reid, C.Koons, and Schumer.. Just like Olbermann's previous jobs, he DID NOT get along with mgt or his fellow co-workers. Plus mgt was getting tired of the way Olbermann would rant, ridicule, smear, and insult people instead of having actual debates. I guess he wasn't up to the challenge!!

    January 21, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Alan

    Keith Olberman was really the only reason I watched MSNBC. I guess the Comcast purchase means that MSNBC is going the way of Fox News. Anyway I have deleted the 8pm slot off of my DVR, and I guess I will be watching more of the vanilla CNN from now on.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  7. faux 'ewes' sheeple are brain-washed

    a repost for the wha-wha-wha-whining nutters:

    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 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JanetMermaid

    @esCo (southern style) - wow, your display of just how illiterate and uneducated you are is astonishing. No wonder you fear Obama - he's an educated, well-spoken man. No wonder you like Beck – he's a boob just like you, except his spelling and grammar are (at least somewhat) better than yours. Best sign off now, hon, your kid sister/wife needs to call her (y'all's) Momma and you're tying up the line with your dial-up modem.

    January 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Timothy Alger

    One word for Keith–bye!

    January 22, 2011 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • ktpinnacle

      Alger, you're stuttering.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. Timothy Alger

    Olbermann comes across, to me, as self-important.
    No big loss.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  11. TTommy

    One by one, the cancerous haters of the radical left are being excised. It's good for America. This guy was so over the top, the only reason he lasted as long as he did was because he was at MSNBC. If CNN wants to destroy any future hopes of being considered "fair and balanced" all they need to do is hire this clown.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  12. UT big D

    I will miss you Keith. Thanks for everything you taught me.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Darkguardian1314

    Rick Sanchez might be getting his spot on MSNBC.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  14. lost faith

    Good now MSNBC wants to up their ratings get rid of Ed Schultz he's twice as crazy as Keith Olbermann

    January 22, 2011 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  15. murrythecat

    The one thing that appears clear from reading this, dhsjks has nothing intelligent to contribute. Keith leaned to the left he never tried to hide that. Fox network claims to be "Fair And Balanced", I am still waiting for that to be true.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
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