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Keith Olbermann Axed at Current TV, Promises Lawsuit

Greg Mitchell
The Nation / News Report
Published: Saturday 31 March 2012
“It goes almost without saying that the claims against me implied in Current's statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently.”
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After months of rumors,  Current announced abruptly this afternoon that it had replaced Keith Olbermann with Eliot Spitzer in the 8 p.m. weeknight time slot.  Read their statement here.  A source told Politico that Current was claiming that the former MSNBC host had "sabotaged" the network, and was absent from the show far too often,  and so was in breach of contract.  An update at The New York Times here.

UPDATE at 9 p.m.: David Letterman's Twitter feed for his "Late Show" reveals that Olbermann "will join Dave on the @Late_Show on Tuesday, April 3rd to talk about his departure from Current TV."  Also, Olberamann on Twitter tonight is tweeting baseball.

Olbermann, who left MSNBC just 14 months ago,  responded with a note to viewers, promising a lawsuit, blasting his bosses (including Al Gore), apologizing to viewers and admitting he had made a "foolish" mistake in taking on this challenge with the little-seen network to start with.  He had an equity stake in the network but long complained about technical problems on the set, including lights going out on several occasions.  Last fall he provided some of the strongest, and most frequent, coverage of the early weeks of Occupy Wall Street.

Here is his note (which he sent out in a series of tweets) in its entirety:

* I'd like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.

Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I've been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract.

It goes almost without saying that the claims against me implied in Current's statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently. To understand Mr. Hyatt’s “values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty,” I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee. That employee’s name was Clarence B. Cain.

In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.

This story originally appeared in The Nation.
Copyright © The Nation – distributed by Agence Global.


I hope no one forget that

I hope no one forget that Keith Olbermann was the only one who stood up to the Bush Admin' s "silence of the media" per se. He not only critized but gave other folks the balls to stand up also...now he is being thrown under the bus? REALLY!!

Did Current TV simply use

Did Current TV simply use Keith to gain attention and higher ratings? They KNEW what they were getting! Yes, Keith injects emotion into his commentary, into his intelligent and incisive reporting, and into his humor....all of which makes his program interesting, as well as informative. He's forceful, honest, and direct: you FEEL his pain, you FEEL his anger, and you FEEL his heart-felt sincerity when he covers a story. And he covers it well. He's never just another talking head! If Keith is absent from Current TV, then I too will be absent from Current TV. For Keith is one of the best- hands down- as evidenced by his outstanding coverage of OWS during the past year. I wish him well, and hope that he is back on the air soon. We need his unique voice and viewpoint!

Mr. Olbermann needs to show

Mr. Olbermann needs to show up for work. I am a faithful follower of MSNBC and when he was on that station. But quite dismayed when he would take long lengths of time off. Granted there are vacations owed, but he is providing a service and is a journalist and needs to be there when the news needs to be followed. I miss Mr. Olbermann's presence on MSNBC and don't get Current TV on our current cable system. Good Luck to Mr. Olbermann.

SLPMGPKCP.....It's too bad

SLPMGPKCP.....It's too bad that you think your enjoyment of Keith Olbermann's presence on your TV trumps his need to take considerable time off to spend the last time he would ever have with his father who was dying. I like Keith Olbermann too, and wish he were still on MSNBC, but I also know what it means to want every minute possible with a parent. Try to put the needs of others before your own trivial desires. You might be a better person for it. By the way, Keith Olbermann is not a news reporter. He is a political commentator. You might want to get your news from a news source and then you won't be hanging out to dry when your favorite commentator is not around to tell you how he interprets the news.

As a former viewer of

As a former viewer of Countdown in both its MSNBC and Current TV incarnations, I have been sadly disappointed in Keith Olbermann's puerile approach to facing his public while attempting to manage internal issues with his employers. Most of us do not have the luxury of working in a Utopian environment, yet have to produce the goods or services for which we have been contracted. A true professional performs regardless of how unfairly the conditions under which such performance takes place are felt to be manifest. By his overt display of umbrage, resulting in not making appearances to anchor some of the most important events of the year, Mr. Olbermann displayed a contempt for his viewers and a dismissive attitude toward his primary purpose as host of Countdown - showing up.Keith Olbermann is a brilliant man, gifted with an omniscient knowledge of macro issues and fascinating minutia. His subtly humorous interjections (often sotto voce) are reminiscent of Steve Allen, who was also capable of sparkling repartee and witticisms that had me laughing throughout my college years. Mr. Olbermann's support of the underprivileged, veterans, and masses disparaged and controlled by those wielding ultimate political and financial power has been a mainstay of his appeal to those of us who support and identify with his opinions.It is, perhaps, owing to the reasons in the foregoing paragraph, that my disappointment is most clearly defined...that Keith Olbermann's inability to appropriately manage his easily bruised ego resulted in an appearance of hubris that ultimately took an extremely talented pundit away from us.

As a former viewer of

As a former viewer of Countdown in both its MSNBC and Current TV incarnations, I have been sadly disappointed in Keith Olbermann's puerile approach to facing his public while attempting to manage internal issues with his employers. Most of us do not have the luxury of working in a Utopian environment, yet have to produce the goods or services for which we have been contracted. A true professional performs regardless of how unfairly the conditions under which such performance takes place are felt to be manifest. By his overt display of umbrage, resulting in not making appearances to anchor some of the most important events of the year, Mr. Olbermann displayed a contempt for his viewers and a dismissive attitude toward his primary purpose as host of Countdown - showing up.Keith Olbermann is a brilliant man, gifted with an omniscient knowledge of macro issues and fascinating minutia. His subtly humorous interjections (often sotto voce) are reminiscent of Steve Allen, who was also capable of sparkling repartee and witticisms that had me laughing throughout my college years. Mr. Olbermann's support of the underprivileged, veterans, and masses disparaged and controlled by those wielding ultimate political and financial power has been a mainstay of his appeal to those of us who support and identify with his opinions.It is, perhaps, owing to the reasons in the foregoing paragraph, that my disappointment is most clearly defined...that Keith Olbermann's inability to appropriately manage his easily bruised ego resulted in an appearance of hubris that ultimately took an extremely talented pundit away from us.

You expressed my feelings

You expressed my feelings exactly, M.E.W. I would have written very much what you just did if I had signed in quicker.
I think that Olbermann is probably difficult to work with, given his history with other employers, but he has something important to add to the dialog now.
I really hope this lawsuit doesn't become a nasty battle between the parties that will hurt the Current TV brand and comfort our many enemies on the Right. I would also hate to see Olberman burn his bridges. I hope this all turns out as well as we can expect.

I hope Keith Olbermann wins,

I hope Keith Olbermann wins, even though I have great respect for former Vice President Al Gore. Even though I could not find Current TV in my listing, I would at times find Countdown videos on YouTube to my great delight. My horror in these proceedings is that there is now no home for the Countdown vibe that is so sorely needed in these disturbing times. Come on, Mr. Olbermann, we've got to find you a satisfactory "Home." The World needs your properly potent vitriol in these trying times.

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