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. chatmandu002

    Now MSNBC needs to get rid of Radical Madcow and Ed, the talking horses ass, Schultz.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:37 am | Report abuse |
    • jesse

      "radical madcow." that's cute. in all honesty, if you think rachael maddow is radical, you're going to be in for the shock of your life.

      January 22, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Jerporche

      Really going to miss Keith ! He was the only reason I watched MSNBC It's NBC s loss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      January 22, 2011 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. Clyde

    Can we see that tennis highlight....sounds more interesting.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  3. Chedar

    I used to have MSNBC but not anymore. I like Keith Olberman. I hope he landed a job so we liberal can follow him .
    screw you NBC. Also it's time to get another cable other than CNN

    January 22, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Tuckieboy

      I have decided too that yesterday was my last day watching msnbc. Because of keith I had my satellite radio in my car always tuned to xm120 but all this going to be changed this morning. There is no one on that network that is brave like him to explode the facts of the hidden facts in the politics today.

      January 22, 2011 at 4:03 am | Report abuse |
  4. And the Worst Person in the World is... Keith Olbermann

    Keith never represented American values or common sense. His disrespect for the American people was displayed each night that he mocked and sarcastically presented his own slant on the news through blatant lies. The hatred he spewed was sickening, at least Bill Maher is entertaining.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • J. Williams

      Once again someone calls Keith a liar and fails to site any examples. Typical

      January 22, 2011 at 6:49 am | Report abuse |
  5. slim32

    At first, I thought Keith was fired. I even figured he would end up on CNN. But I now am thinking that Keith resigned and will be your brand new Press Secretary when Baghdad Bob Gibbs leaves next week. Think about it, only Ed Schultz is more blatant in his undying love and affection for President 0bama, but let's be honest, Keith is way smarter than Ed (not that that is saying much) and the timing is quite suspect.

    Yes, I know that Comcast just bought 51% of NBC, but, isn't Keith their #1 ratings guy? Why get rid of one of the two people that other people (I guess I use that term loosely) actually tune in to watch?

    January 22, 2011 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. Christopher

    I guess you libs will have to circle jerk here since there's obviously not enough people interested in sustaining Olbermann's pathetic show. ...Maddow, Ed, MSNBC are next.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
    • rmtaks

      Yea, good thing there are plenty of highly rated right wing morons who still kept their show, who would literally prefer our country the way it was 200 years ago.

      January 22, 2011 at 12:48 am | Report abuse |
  7. Mo

    That fat, pompous ass, and you know who I'm taking about, can and does SAY anything he wants, but a little Keith makes your blood boil...FREAKS!

    January 22, 2011 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ed McCann

    The most vain man since William F. Buckly However people who could stand to watch him thought he was liberal.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. rmtaks

    He was too far to the left for my tastes, but I was glad he was there. As meager as it was, he was a counterweight to all the far-right nutjobs like O'Reilly, Beck, Hannity, Limbaugh. And honestly, I'd rather live in a communist country than a theocracy if I had to choose.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  10. MarshallM

    Not having read all 1,252 comments here, has anyone mentioned that one of the three Democrats that Keith Olbermann made donations to just before the election was, in fact, Gabrielle Giffords. Olbermann is a champion of the truth, and anyone who is such, will land on his feet and you all can be certain that he will continue his quest for the truth.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. Liam123

    This is unbelievable. Is this another example of money stamping out the truth? MSNBC, you stink for doing this!

    January 22, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  12. Kris

    Stupid stupid decision by comcast. I tuned in to see him and stayed for Rachel. Stupid move comcast!

    January 22, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. Ned the Crackhead

    Good riddance, Oberman, you deceiving good-for-nothin smear tactician cover up artist, con man liar. You don't have an honest bone in your lyin liberal body. The world is a better place without the likes of you spreading lies and hate and false accusations, schmuck. In all likely hood, YOU are responsible for mentoring the Tuscan shootings, ya creep.

    Beat it, brainless jabber jaws! And don't come back!

    January 22, 2011 at 12:44 am | Report abuse |
    • spot

      now I know we'll get get the straight poop from hannity, you are so lost...

      January 22, 2011 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
    • MattyCombs

      Shaddap Ned. Go smoke some more's apparently doing you good...

      January 22, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  14. bluebird

    Wow. Can't see what happens next. The ratings are hard to ignore and MSNBC is losing sponsors. Unless it makes changes, everyone will have to go, even matthews and maddow.

    January 22, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  15. Vanwilder

    Good riddance,,,,,,,,,,Don't let the door hit you on the way out..............LOSER

    January 22, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
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