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, ‚ÄúThe Big Show,‚ÄĚ and ‚ÄúWhite House In Crisis.‚ÄĚ

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. Kenny

    Well it apppears MSNBC is forcing me back to CNN. I looked forward to coming home and listening to ED, TRMS and Keith in the evening.I'm of the opinion COUNTDOWN was a main stay for MSNBC. I believe the other shows were built around it and that is why they made it. With the loss of COUNTDOWN and the take over of NBC by COMCAST, I suspect we will see the down fall of NBC and MSNBC.

    I'm sure Keith will land on his feet somewhere else and many of us will migrate to him where ever he lands. For right now, Asta La Vista MSNBC.

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

    Unbelievable. Its no wonder we independents can't decide what side to vote for. The conservatives have some very good ideas and points that should be considered, but it is not all about money and maximizing profit. What Keith was able to do on a regular basis was remind people of the HUMAN side of things. Money is NOT everything. I'm sorry, but you shouldn't call a guy a loser that is trying to look out for people and what is right, even if at times his way of getting there may disagree with your opintion. Can't you respectfully disagree? Can't you offer a tangible solution other than "cut taxes" and "get rid of government?" You whiny people would be the first to cry foul if you lost your insurance and couldn't get proper medical attention. It is clear if you freak out like this over a rich person losing some of their billions. You call Keith a loser? Is he a loser for setting up clinics for people without health insurance? Can't you disagree with his ideas without being such arrogant a$$es?

    January 22, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. Diana Garcia

    This has been a sad night for both viewers and media. WILL NOT WATCH MSNBC EVER AGAIN!

    January 22, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. Brian

    I'm glad to see him go. He was one of the last reasons I wouldn't watch CNN. I'll be watching it more. They should have kept him from coming back the first time they suspended him for unethical contributions.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  5. Inkling

    Bubbye. Be careful not to drown in your own vitriol.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  6. scott the american patriot

    I'm very happy with this decision. This man is a liar and truth manipulator. He isn't open and honest he's practically a liberal mouth piece. Now maybe the liberals will calm down since they're not being lied to all day every day.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
    • J. Williams

      Scott. Show me one lie K.O told.

      January 22, 2011 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. Rob

    Why don't you name some of the lies that Keith has told. For every lie, I will give you fifty from Fox News ("fair and balanced") If there are any adult conservatives (62 and over) celebrating Keith's departure, I would like to hear from you, when your social security or medicade is reduced or eleminated, or if your still working and suddenly your jobless because it has been shipped overseas, or your boss decides to fire you because you have no union to represent you or the present Congress decides to eleminate your job because you are a Federal worker. How about if you get sick and have no insurance. There is more to come if Congress gets their way and then we will see if you can still talk the talk especially if it affects you. Keith fought for us. Who the hell will fight for you? I have found out that you CAN, fool some of the people all of the time especially if they watch Fox News.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  8. NancyB

    Keith will be sorely missed by those of us who knew the difference. The venomous attacks by all of you ditto heads and fox (fixed) news repositories show just how effective he was. You people wouldn't know the truth if it knocked on your door and shot you with an assault rifle. Keith, wherever you go, we will be right there with you. Without doubt, one of the most intelligent and eloquent men to ever comment on the political news of the day. Here's to you, Keith!

    January 22, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
    • bannister

      Nancy, that guy was a pompous blowhared and you know it. I don't like Fox either, but that's not why he was fired. He was a low class jerk that yes, promoted HATE and INTOLERANCE of anyone who disagreed with his opinion!

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

      bannister – I'd hate to hear what you think of the Fox line-up!

      January 22, 2011 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
  9. Chatarri

    Maybe their ratings will increase.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  10. bannister

    Keith Olbermann was the..... WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD!

    January 22, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
    • ktpinnacle

      So clever! But probably the first person in your hick town to think it.

      Now collect your quarter from the GOP for your witty post and by a pack of gum.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. Oldie in TampaBay

    ahhhhhhhhhhhhh .. another one bites the dust!

    January 22, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. Damian Olbermann

    Good riddance you venomous snake, the hate and lies that you and Rachel Maddow spew is disgusting!!

    January 22, 2011 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
  13. Johnny Mossberg

    Madcow is next.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  14. annie 0

    I will miss Keith ALOT....I was always hoping my daughters would get more involved in politics (by osmosis, perhaps?) while I was watching his show.....only one daughter in four took the bait, but I guess 25% is better than nothing. I am just shocked and sickened by the amount of hate that I'm reading on this site...so much for civility.
    I am relatively new to computers, but isn't there something called spell-check, and how come so few people use it? Maybe they're too busy hating....

    January 22, 2011 at 12:12 am | Report abuse |
  15. Kook test

    Obama probably sent him a big thank you for not mentioning U.S.casualties in Afghanistan the last two years

    January 22, 2011 at 12:18 am | Report abuse |
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