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. Deanna

    The family that owns Comcast make the Bush family look like liberals. I personally would love to see Olbermann team up with John Stewart!!!

    January 22, 2011 at 1:15 am | Report abuse |
  2. Gmo

    Whatever your political leanings are, you can't ignore the fact that he did back up his statements and rebutals with facts. Something we as Americans should always demand from all media.

    January 22, 2011 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
  3. United and Balanced?

    To be fair, there are outspoken fanatics on all sides these days. MSNBC, FOX, CNN, all have an agenda and biased audiences. The "United" States of America is only united in hatred and anger. It will take another 9/11 for Americans to wake up, stop bickering, and focus attention on those that are destroying our country otherwise we'll destroy ourselves from within.

    We see where Europe is failing in their attempts to unite and we certainly don't want to repeat that. They may be educated but their individual arrogance is tearing them to pieces.

    January 22, 2011 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Acagal

    I can hardly wait to see what Ann Coulter has to say. Good day in America when even a liberal outlet sees light.

    January 22, 2011 at 1:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. spot

    comcast hasn't fully justified their takeover to the FCC yet and they are already telling you what they want you to watch, oboy this will be fun. Open wide let me force feed my line down your throat.

    January 22, 2011 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. TCinLA

    The Limbaughtomized Right loves it, but the rest of us can see the writing on the wall. Ed Snider, owner of Comcast, an extreme-right Randian, now in control of more media than God. And people complain that the media is "lib'rul." We're living in William Gibson's world but don't realize it because this dystopia still has neon.

    January 22, 2011 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  7. LKJ

    This is a sad day for this country.

    January 22, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  8. NadePaulKuciGravMcKi

    Keith Olbermann
    controlled media
    9/11 censorship
    joe lieberman
    AIPAC first

    January 22, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  9. Gmo

    This is a great loss to those who like facts with their news.

    January 22, 2011 at 1:34 am | Report abuse |
  10. No one

    Maybe this guy should run against palin and fooliani ...then yall can make sure obama doesnt win so yall can go back to the white president era....@* it

    January 22, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  11. Powerful Mind

    Cnn is to blame as well. Anderson and co in their bid to appear unbiased, accused K.O of being a left wing nut job and compared him to Oreily, Beck and Limbaugh. In truth they are the ones who refuse to do their job. If Keith is a liar give us proof, as they should to all those liars on faux news. After all is it not the job of the journalist to protect this democracy? How can we have fair elections if people have no factual information to base their decisions on. Saddly enough,CNNs' position only makes them as bad as the Networks they try to differentiate themselve from as they could careless about telling the truth because it suits their ratings and bottom line to accuse K.O and Msnbc of being leftist lunatics. Hence, they foster their agenda by creating this false equivalency between Faux news,( bill, beck and Rush) and the aforementioned. Alll in all, the biggest loosers today are the American population and democracy. On the other hand, Cnn comes out as winners but even they nor fox aren't the biggest winners. Rather that award goes to the powers behind the Republican party who have to do less to keep the truth from being an obstacle in a debate, election and hence the policies of the United states of America. Keith would be fine, just worried for this democracy. We'll miss you K.O!

    January 22, 2011 at 1:40 am | Report abuse |
  12. MR

    I started watching MSNBC 3 years ago faithfully because of Keith Olbermann and his reporting of Presidential Primary. I like Rachel but I don't think she is enough to keep interested in MSNBC. I'm sorry Keith is no longer a part of MSNBC. I too must say goodbye. Leave it to upper management to screw up a good thing.

    January 22, 2011 at 1:44 am | Report abuse |
  13. joe

    the Ag Cornell graduate .. got old.. goodbye fool.. you were liberal.. and boring..

    January 22, 2011 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  14. marsi

    This is a sad day for American media. Now when blowhards like Beck and Bill-O spout their filthy lies, who's gonna call em on it? Progressives, boycott Comcast!

    January 22, 2011 at 2:02 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mad Hatter

    Mission Accomplished!

    Good Night, and Good Riddance.

    January 22, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
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