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. kat

    Where is the I dislike comcast/msnbc button? Where is it........? ......................... Where is it?

    January 22, 2011 at 2:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. sam

    Don't let the door hit ya on the way out! You socialist loving P-O-S!!!! Just like every left leaning lying liberal socialist all he could do was spout hate to whoever he disagreed with. He's a Moron thank whatever GOD you worship that he's gone!

    January 22, 2011 at 2:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. Wilber

    Yeah, it's hard to do a show bashing Rush, Beck and FOX every night without boring even the most dedicated liberals eventually. Happy trails, Mr. Angry – Maybe MSNBC can find a better "tone" in the new and magic huggy feely land we're supposed to be creating in post "insane 'tard goes blazing away at a legislator." Keith added more anger than clear headed though. In fact, that could very well be why he's out da door. Buh-bye.

    January 22, 2011 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Peyton

    Good luck. He'll be on at 10p right behind Piers. It will be perfect.

    January 22, 2011 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. Hala Khalek

    Fool that I was, I really believed MSNBC different from Fox News and the other extremist right-wing platforms. Their termination of Olbermann says it all.

    I cannot believe that the hannities and the rellies of the media are here to stay and Olberman is out! Who's next? Maddow? Ed? Mathews?

    MSNBC – you just shot yourself in the foot ... hope the pain is worth it.

    Hala Khalek

    January 22, 2011 at 3:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. faux 'ewes' sheeple are brain-washed

    now i know you'll try to rationalize away these case studies as "BIASED LIBERAL MEDIA LIES" because you've already shown signs of being a crazy, in denial, pathetic, wingnut who can't handle the truth but can you do the same for an actual, factual court-case?



    “Appellate Court Rules Media Can Legally Lie” <– WHOOPS!
    Can you explain why you keep going back to drink from a fountain of LIES when fox is the ONLY FAKEWORK to go to an appeals court to overturn a fair ruling by the people to get the "OK" to LIE & DISTORT NEWS? Please take a minute to stop spreading your DISHONES-TEA & INSANI-TEA & explain this matter of public record. Real Americans, like me, would like to understand your treason.

    you know who else LIED to the people to get what he wanted? GLENN BECK's poster boy bogey-man, HITLER!

    "The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State." - Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Nazi Propaganda Minister

    LOOK FAMILIAR? A recent German magazine ran an article saying Goebbels would be “proud” of the misinformation & propaganda being disseminated by FOX. Shouldn’t this clue you in?

    If you can explain THIS ^ to me, giving me a truthful, factual, logical, reason as to “WHY” you knowingly drink from the fox fountain of lies, I will give you my vote next election. I will vote straight GOP, how’s that for a deal? Even for the office of the president! I’ve been offering this for months & can you believe not a single person has taken me up on my offer? I wonder why that is…?

    "You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it."~ Malcolm X

    if you can't respond to this simple question HONESTLY, then it's clear you don't have a legitimate platform to be espousing your insanity!


    to be clear, it's "YOU" who has no credibility here. everything i shared is a matter of public record; if you don't acknowledge this REALITY then we can all conclude "YOU" are either DISHONEST or CRAZY.

    either way, nothing you say has any credibility or voracity

    January 22, 2011 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
  7. faux 'ewes' sheeple are brain-washed

    marty from CT that last post was for you –

    it seems the first part got chopped off; lucky for you because in it i highlighted your ignorance in detail, haha!
    unlucky for you, part 2 did more of the same 😉

    January 22, 2011 at 3:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. Derry Nelson

    If Conservative Value's were so great then why are we still digging ourselves out of a trench that Bush 43 caused. And where is my Million dollars if right wing talk is so great then why does the economy sucks when y'all are in power and you always have to reappeal a democratic Bill well why don't the dems reappeal the Homeland security act there is a lot of unfairness in that law that hurts a lot of americans with a criminal background history to get a job.

    January 22, 2011 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |
  9. NotoriousRambo

    I like watching Keith's show it is very informative and is very straight forward unlike Fox News which many of you foolishly watch even though you know you are being lied to makes me think of the war in Iraq a war started basically on lies and was proven so yet we continue to fight there JUST DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE.

    I respect Keith's journalism so much that I got hooked onto his show i was flipping through the channels a year and a half ago seeing what all the major news networks are talking about off course Fox news just made me switch the channel right away then same thing happened with CNN but not as swift as fox I then turned to MSNBC watched the whole episode of "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" and was immediately hooked not only can I see the true sense of journalism from this guy I can also see what he was bringing to the show was the Truth something foxnews is the opposite of.

    I am very disappointed with Keith's decision cause hes one of the last few real journalists around that will tell it like it is much less so with Jon Stewart who although chooses the satirical route with his show yet he tell you the news without covering up the truth like foxnews yes foxnews. One thing that comes to mind that may be the reason for his sudden unfortunate departure might be the Gabrielle Gifford's shooting and the not surprising post response from our very patriotic politicians. I couldn't be more disgusted when Sarah Palin and the likes thereof acted like they had no accountability for what happened even though she proudly used terms like RELOAD! I can see why Keith might not want to be any part of such a corrupt and atrocious system of government where blame is passed onto each other instead of claiming accountability like Keith did and surprisingly John McCain. Although they are not directly responsible for the Arizona shooting they stood up and said something out of their hearts instead of their behinds like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, & Rush Limbaugh have been doing.

    I wish Keith all the best kind of like how i did the same with Dan Rather who was also a journalist I had huge respects for its a shame how we just keep sinking deeper and deeper into the abyss where the truth is very hard to come by its all up to Jon Stewart Now.

    January 22, 2011 at 4:40 am | Report abuse |
  10. jack

    Pity.... The guy was a brilliant commentator.

    January 22, 2011 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. Frank

    Sad to see him go. Liberal but fair and truthful. Will miss his honesty.

    January 22, 2011 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
  12. colo2rado

    Keith is a great talent. HIs leaving is a big loss for MSNBC and the country. He speaks the truth. Keith..get back on TV somewhere asap.

    January 22, 2011 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. LynB

    From a fan who came to America as an immigrant 20 years ago, I take my hat off to someone who spoke the language I, an ordinary citizen, understood. Good luck, and I'm sure to follow you wherever you appear in the future!

    January 22, 2011 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  14. Christopher Dycha

    I want newsreporters not newsmakers. The business has blown up to make celebrities out of these people where their personalities and personal spins were injected to supercede the facts. Keith is not the only guilty party in this trend. That goes for the right and left. I found him to be intelligent but biased. I enjoyed watching him and saw it as a challenge to discern the real truth. At the extreme, he was a Jon Stewart without the laugh track. Christopher Dycha

    January 22, 2011 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  15. Debbie Eastep

    Good luck, Keith in you next assignment. There's definatley a place for your perspective to be voiced, in our national discussion. I didn't always agree with everything you said, or even how it was said, but you always brought illumination to the subjects you covered, different from those covering similar topics. America was better off for your 8 years of programming. I thank you for that. Blessings, Debbie in WV

    January 22, 2011 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
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