wow, what happened?

The Guardian: Keith Olbermann, the liberal, outspoken anchor of MSNBC’s Countdown show, had his contract dramatically terminated by the US cable new network’s parent company NBC on Friday night.

Abruptly announcing that the current show would be his last, Olbermann calmly read aloud an extract by James Thurber before signing off with the words: “Good night and good luck.”

While Olbermann was live on-air, NBC issued a statement reading:

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.
Bizarrely, nearly half an hour later during an ad break in the following programme, MSNBC showed a station promo featuring Olbermann. But the promo was interrupted halfway through by a mattress advertisment.

37 Responses to “wow, what happened?”

  1. 1 Tally
    January 21, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    This is a direct result of the Comcast/NBC merger. Rachel will be next. Comcast is überrightwing. They now own everything.

  2. 4 cjtown
    January 21, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Don’t know what happened, but I knew eventually something like this would happen.

  3. January 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I hate that Keith is gone, now all I will watch is Rachael. Those were to only 2 shows I could tolerate. I am sure that Keith made them buy out his contract if they wanted to get rid of him. He is very smart. I may be wrong but somewhere I read that he made 5 million a year. (It was either him or Chris Matthews) if I am correct he just signed a 5 year contract last year. So he won’t be hurting. And he still work for the Baseball Association. I wish him luck where ever he decide to go.

  4. January 21, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I’d agree with Tally on this. I hope he landed on that soft mattress.

  5. January 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    OK CNN just reported that he made 30 million dollars over 4 year contract, and he had 2 years left on his contract. So I was wrong. So Keith made out like a bandit money wise.

  6. 8 Tally
    January 21, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    We need his voice.

    • January 21, 2011 at 10:12 pm

      You are so right, I am sure he will be back on the air in about 6 months or so. He is to good to be in lala land. It’s a good segment about him on CNN now.

  7. 10 Me4obama
    January 21, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Keith olberman is professional lefty he bashes Obama when he doesn’t do what he believes in. Sad but not sorry. I felt bad when he was suspended but after the tax comprise he lost me.

    • 11 Sue in Minnesota
      January 21, 2011 at 11:05 pm

      I no longer watch him….revisited after the Tuscon Memorial, but left 3 days later. I was uncomfortable with both his ego, and his sanctimony. Rachel, is I believe the true diamond in the rough, now I am concerned about her future. The MSM offers very little opportunity for political balance and perspective, which concerns me greatly. So much for the “Information Age”, what a misnomear……..and the vacuum grows with the disappearance of moderate and progressive programming.

      I subscribe to Comcast…time to re-evaluate our options. I’ld love to see a consumer boycott, but it would take millions to create any kind of financial dent. These corporations have their boots on our necks…..

    • January 22, 2011 at 11:34 am


  8. January 21, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    He drove me nuts a lot of the time, but I’ll miss his passion – I think his heart was in the right place. Hope he reappears on another channel, but where?

    • 14 Asher in Boston
      January 21, 2011 at 10:42 pm

      Thats excactly what I was wondering CS, what channel. Gosh, he pissed me off at times, but in most cases his heart was in the right place. Those bloody comcast fellas. Something felt wrong abt that merger. Guess all we have is this site, BWD and the rest of the left leaning sensible sites, but as for t.v, guys, we are screwed.

  9. 15 Theo67
    January 21, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    I’ve heard that Cenk Yuiger(sp) is going to have the 6pm slot. He’s one of the most vile people I’ve seen on TV. Completely uninformed, unpleasant, uninteresting.

    • 16 Fred
      January 22, 2011 at 12:50 am

      I hope you’re kidding. Olbermann may have been a bit of an ahole but Cenk is 10x more of everything that was bad about Olbermann.

    • 17 Chi
      January 22, 2011 at 1:14 pm

      I saw the Cenk guy one time he sat in for Keith and that was enough…

      He won’t last, mark my words…

  10. 18 Me4obama
    January 21, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    I do sympathize with Keith’s compassion. It was coming from his true liberalism but sometimes he did it with so much anger and we need less anger and more compassion with civility. I will miss him he helped a lot in need and educated many but he was going to make PBO’s job a lot harder because he is going to comprise with republicans to move us forward and Keith sees compromising as weakness. Remember when he called the tax compromise Nazi appeasing that’s when he lost me. But good luck to him I will choose to remember in a positive way because he did more good than harm.

  11. 19 EDP4BHO
    January 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    Someone on OFA stated Keith cannot do TV until around 2013, due to a no-compete clause in his contract. Anyone want to research this?

    • 20 Tally
      January 21, 2011 at 11:18 pm

      That sounds as if that would only apply if he was still doing his show.

      If you do a commercial for Coke, you can’t do one for Pepsi while the Coke ad is still running, or they’ve given you money to hold it – because they might air it again.

      Just because they’ve paid Keith for his contract, they’re not airing the show, and have no plans to in the future, so there’s no competition he would be competing with.

    • 21 Hachikō
      January 22, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      This is what I found:

      For the last several weeks, Mr. Olbermann and the network have been in negotiations to end his successful run on MSNBC, according to executives involved in the talks who requested anonymity because the talks were confidential. The deal was completed on Friday, and Mr. Olbermann made the announcement on his final “Countdown” hours later.

      Friday’s separation agreement between MSNBC and Mr. Olbermann includes restrictions on when he can next lead a television show and when he can give interviews about the decision to end his association with the news channel.

      The executives involved in the discussions confirmed that the deal carries limitations for Mr. Olbermann in terms of when he can next work on television, though he will be able to take a job in radio or on any forum on the Internet. The deal also prohibits the host from commenting publicly on the deal, the executives confirmed.

      Mr. Olbermann did not respond to requests for comment Friday or Saturday.


  12. 22 Elaine Strange
    January 21, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Everything was always about Keith Hate for anyone to lose their job. but Keith had become one of President Obama’s biggest critics.

  13. 24 Me4obama
    January 21, 2011 at 11:45 pm

    I agree with you Elaine strange he had become obama’s biggest critic. Tonight show he was repeating the Un confirmed lies how Obama is going to cut social security and then in same same breath he questioned if Obama had the guts to cut defense spending. So it was going to be a rocky 2 years for Obama dealing with republicans and having the left machine question his integrity at every turn. I will watch Lawrence o’dennel he is reasonable but that cenk augur guy he is very very toxic.

  14. 25 Asher in Boston
    January 21, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Note to self: 1. Call comcast first thing in the morning to cancel their sevices. 2. Done with watching msnbc, sorry Rachael, Ed and Lawrence, but you are going to be next, so wont bother tuning in. Screw you comcast, dont care abt the denials but any fool can see it. Comcast is officially taking over on monday, what a coincidence.

    • 26 Tally
      January 22, 2011 at 1:56 am

      Glad I have the option for satellite.

    • 27 Chi
      January 22, 2011 at 1:07 pm

      Hey Asher,

      I think I’ll be switching too…

      Comcast has had my business for far too long, time to move on…

      The greed and power grab has become unpalatable and simply too much to bear…

  15. 28 Michele
    January 22, 2011 at 3:37 am

    I agree at times Keith was a bit harsh but those times were few and far between. Keith exposed us to people who had facts and were reasonable. I think this is a sad day for all of us regarding progressive information on television. Please don’t forget Keith apologized for any harsh words he said in the past that could lead anyone to violence or hatred, how many others did you hear apologize to their viewers…. At the end of the day, Keith made you think and exposed you to people and issues that are hidden or we would never had known about.. I will miss you Keith and my heart is broken…..

  16. 29 dotster
    January 22, 2011 at 8:32 am

    I am wondering if the Ar. shooting had anything to do with this. I’m sure Keith has received 100’s of death threats—I see how people talk about him on even unrelated websites—-and maybe he thought I’m outta here. If the rumor is true that he’s returning to sports, he might have decided that sports fans can be crazy too but at least they aren’t likely to want to kill him.
    Even though I have been really disappointed in some of Keith’s recent statements, accepting the far left criticism of Obama without much thought, I will forever be grateful to him for being the first and only one to report on the false case for war and all the other Bush atrocities. The entire rest of our news media was so busy looking the other way, trying not to see. Olbermann stepped up to the plate. He and Colbert at the correspondents dinner. They were the only ones, a sad state of affairs indeed.

  17. 30 Chi
    January 22, 2011 at 11:50 am

    I’d tuned out pretty much everyone on CNN, MSNBC etc. …

    Never watched Fox News – actually permanently blocked on every television set in my home…

    I turned on so many friends and family to Keith and MSNBC, but completely turned him and MSNBC off finally a few months ago…

    His outrageous, disrespectful, condescending, angry, bizarre and out-sized insults and attacks on President Obama were head-scratching and petty and finally absolutely and completely bonkers in my mind…

    It made no sense most of the time and sometimes one got the sense that he had been co-opted by some group with an agenda to destroy President Obama…and then Arianna Huffington and a few other dubious anti-Obama types started popping up regularly on his show and it all began to make sense…

    Rachel finally lost me too when amongst other things she questionably continued to insist upon inflicting Megan McCain upon her viewers as some sort of reputable source for anything…

    It all became such a joke and frankly boring, tedious and all around ridiculous…

    I did sign the petition to keep Keith on when he was suspended and only because as much as I no longer cared for or watched him, I did believe that in his saner moments, his was a somewhat reasonably relevant “liberal” voice – no longer for me, but maybe for others who still got something out it…

    It’s really strange, but I always did believe that Keith was really a pretty decent guy and that deep down, he really liked and respected President Obama…

    But his ramped up and blatant disrespect, condescension and attacks on the President the past several months, even as he once again started kissing up to the Clintons and gratuitously throwing their names in at every turn as he took digs at President Obama, was very suspicious and disturbing…

    It became *Mr* Obama and *President* clinton…And he seemed to derive so much obvious pleasure from denigrating President Obama…

    Left me always thinking – with friends like this, who needs enemies…

    I wish only the very best for him and hope he lands on his feet – he does deserve the benefit of the doubt and the many chances he immediately and so willfully denied President Obama…

    • 31 Hachikō
      January 22, 2011 at 3:47 pm

      Hehe. I could have written this, Chi. It’s eerie how alike we are in our political views. 🙂

      • 32 Chi
        January 22, 2011 at 6:36 pm

        Oh Hachikō…

        It’s so good to see you posting again…

        Welcome back dear friend…

        Hope you’re rested and settling in well…

    • 33 EDP4BHO
      January 22, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      Thank you Chi….you said everything I don’t have the time to say, and then some. I stopped watching MSNBC regularly some months ago….I need to hear broadcasting with a mature attitude, not such that sounds like throwing tantrums, and given the fact I am African American, I am sensitive when others speak about my president, and suspicious of those who try to find fault with him, since I see him as one who is trying all he can to bring about good in this country, and holds up against all the zings and vitriol cast towards him. I simply do not accept the foul spirit of what passes as news in this day and time. I wish none of them luck…..with their millions of big bucks, they don’t need my blessings.

    • 34 louc1
      January 22, 2011 at 10:29 pm

      Totally agree!!!

  18. 35 Kimberly
    January 23, 2011 at 10:49 am

    I love Keith and always will. I want everyone to remember that President Obama is not perfect and constructive criticism is not hate but more like hand wringing. Keith didn’t express hate, he expressed passion and there is a difference. With him gone from MSNBC, there is no more reason to watch it. I am now exploring how to get rid of my Comcast internet.

    • 36 Chi
      January 23, 2011 at 10:33 pm

      *Constructive* criticism is fine and dandy…

      Outright disrespect and denigration on the other hand, completely unacceptable and will certainly not be tolerated…

      This over-used and now worn-out argument that the demeaning, insulting and condescending rhetoric directed towards this President by some on the left should be considered “constructive criticism”, is not only bogus, but complete and utter crap…

      To attack and attempt to diminish the President simply because in less than 2 years he hasn’t immediately reversed 30+ years of damage and hasn’t specifically prioritized every groups pet cause and demands as he has been ordered to by said groups – never mind that he’s had fires to put out since he walked into the oval office;

      And that he has in the face of much hostility, hate and envy inspired-attacks, had to pretty much do much of the heavy lifting and pulling the country back from the brink where he found it, all by himself…

      In a country and a seriously crazy environment where “polls” and deliberately misinformed public opinion now reign supreme and make or break any agenda…

      That people like Keith and some on the left, instead of doing their part – their job – clearly articulating, informing, educating and hopefully convincing the American electorate whose mostly uninformed opinions ultimately form and drive the basis for support for or against moving along any particular agenda including those that affect us all…

      That Keith and his friends choose instead to focus their attention on the President…and not on his many hard fought and hard won accomplishments, which they mostly disdain and dismiss off-hand of course…

      Negatively framing every accomplishment and effort, focusing on every imperfection and rejecting outright every progress made simply because it was not perfectly wrapped up exactly as they’d theoretically imagined and ordered – berating, belittling and mocking the President in the process for cheap thrills and ratings…

      On the rare occasion when they have grudgingly conceded or have been forced to acknowledge President Obama’s calm, measured and superior ability in successfully maneuvering the many, many land mines and win victories for the American people – including those who viciously attack him – they have all as quickly turned back to bitching and bashing…

      It has always been up to us on the left to convince our fellow Americans of the value in the many good things we stand for – this President embodies it all and is a shining example of all that’s best not just in the Democratic Party, but America and the world…

      But President Obama can’t do it all alone and the President is only as effective as the support he has to move any agenda along…

      How very sad…what missed opportunities and what an incredible waste of valuable media real estate that instead of utilizing their time on the air winning over the American people to their way of thinking – like the republicans in the media have successfully done (and working without facts or tangible positive results too)…

      How sad that instead of spending time arguing for and winning over the support of the American people to their various causes and points of view – a situation that would clearly make it easier for the President to move along their various agendas…

      How tragic and counter-intuitive that they choose instead to undermine and weaken the President; blowing away any chance of ever getting their perfectly wrapped and delivered items on the progressive agenda by destructively chipping away at President Obama alongside the republicans…

      They diminish and sell short every incredible achievement and progress made, ask people to stay home to send “a message”, and then turn around and blame President Obama for the mid-term losses…

      Give me a break!

      Of course President Obama isn’t perfect – he is human after all…

      But in a world where greed and money reign supreme, and is the sole motivation for most…

      In this world where a man like Barack Obama who had every opportunity to quickly turn his brilliance and exceptional-ism into great wealth and fortune, chose instead to serve…

      And before you say it –

      No, turning down prime offers after Harvard law school, returning to the south side of Chicago – poor as a church rat in a banged-up car and falling in love and marrying a black woman from a regular middle class family aren’t exactly the choices made by some shrewd man advance planning and plotting for a run for the Presidency of the United States – By no stretch of the imagination could these clearly contradictory moves be argued against…

      But I digress…

      In a world were brilliance and dignity, tempered with empathy, calm, reason, patience, respect, decency, integrity, warmth, goodness, grace, focus and much spirit and humanity are fast becoming just words in a dictionary and to be mocked mostly – and show up in a few good books that are no longer read…

      In a world were very few possess all the above-mentioned attributes to any degree and even fewer like Barack Obama possess it all and in abundance…

      President Obama might not be “perfect”, but he sure is as good as it gets – and you’d better believe it…

      And God help America and the world if we fail to recognize this and do not rally around and support this very worthy man’s courageous effort in the face of much opposition and great hostility, as he tirelessly works on our behalf to move things forward and in a positive direction…

      • 37 tally
        January 24, 2011 at 12:43 pm

        Chi, I love you ONE MILLION times more than e’er I did.

        And I’d like to add – Let’s not forget there were NEVER, not for one second, 60 votes in the Senate:

        But let’s start with that fictional 60 and do some math –

        – Lieberman (never voting D ever)
        – Teddy died, and was replaced by an R.
        – Franken not seated until July
        – and how many BluDogs™? At least ten?

        By my calculations that’s barely 48, let alone any kind of super majority the GOP required to even discuss anything, let alone bring it to a vote.

        The fact Obama has managed to accomplish a record amount of legislation in these two short years in this poisonous environment is nothing short of miraculous.

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