While watching Real Time with Bill Maher last night, I learned that MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and the network were finally divorcing. Rachel Maddow was on and she said Olbermann seemed pretty calm about it all. Maher said he heard the news just before he went on the air.
Some media sources say Olbermann was fired; others say it was a mutual end-of-the-road decision after eight years. As you may recall, the anchor was suspended last year when it was revealed he donated money to Democratic candidates.
And there's much speculation that Comcast may have wanted Olbermann out. The FCC recently approved the deal for a Comcast takeover of NBC.
MSNBC's statement says:
"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."His departure seems abrupt. Media Bistro reports that Olbermann's "Countdown" show was MSNBC's top show in 2010. However, multiple sources say Olbermann and the network have had a fragile relationship for a while.
The New York Times gives MSNBC's new line-up as follows:
MSNBC announced that “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell would replace “Countdown” at 8 p.m., with “The Ed Show” with Ed Schultz taking Mr. O’Donnell’s slot at 10 p.m.MSNBC itself also says "starting Monday, Cenk Uygur, msnbc contributor and host of the popular web show “The Young Turks,” will be filling in as host of the 6 p.m. ET hour."
Here is Olbermann's Good-bye message to his audience.
It's been reported that he will be paid until his contract ends, which is usual, and it's possible his contract may require that he not sign with anyone else or pop up too soon in any "future endeavors" involving other networks. I think that I've read that he gets $7 million per year until his contract runs out in about two years. Politico says he has two years left on a four-year contract worth $30 million.
TMZ, the gossip site, reports he got some kind of secret deal.
Below, CNN's Anderson Cooper gives his take on the news, acknowledging that Olbermann provided formidable competition.