(Originally posted at 10 pm EST 1.21)
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. – Bill Carter (1.22 update)
“I think the same fantasy popped into the head of everybody in my business who has ever been told what I have been told — ‘that this is going to be the last edition of your show.’” Cue “Network”… That’s how he began last night’s sign off.
If those words didn’t have the ring of being fired this would remind me of what Mr. Olbermann did at the height of the Clinton – Lewinski imbroglio when he walked away from “The Big Show” on MSNBC, because it became the Sex Scandal Hour. He simply got sick of having to cover it day in and day out and walked out, so he went to Fox Sports to do what he loves. Baseball has a lot more grace and a lot less preening or at least it did until the steroid scandal.
No one knows right now why Olbermann called it quits or whether he was pushed, which seems likely given the wording of his statement.
Considering his sins during the primary season of 2008, including his blatant sexism and over the top critiques of Hillary Clinton, with no actions except to be banned from some broadcasts and replaced by David Gregory, I can’t imagine what grievous sin he committed that caused it to happen now. Maybe it was cumulative if it ends to be a firing.
“MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” the network said. – AP
Lawrence O’Donnell gets Keith’s 8:00 pm time slot starting Monday. Cenk Uygur is “filling in” at 6:00 pm, as Ed moves up. They’ll leave Rachel Maddow at her current spot, because no point in fiddling with succes. From the Huffington Post:
Starting Monday, January 24, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” will move to 8 p.m. ET/PT and “The Ed Show,” hosted by Ed Schultz, will move to 10 p.m. ET/PT on MSNBC. The announcement was made today by Phil Griffin, President of MSNBC. “The Rachel Maddow Show” will continue to air live at 9 p.m. ET/PT. Also 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.
We’ll have to wait until more reporting comes out, but there can be little doubt that Olbermann waged a war to do his show as he wanted it, admitting his show “gradually established its position as anti-establishment.” Recently he added a qualifier to his intro so it read “news and commentary” at the opening, because Keith didn’t do simply news. Someone from on high made him add the word “commentary.”
The really unfortunate thing is that Bill O’Reilly will be absolutely insufferable, no matter why Olbermann has left MSNBC.
Some of us will miss Keith. I’m one.
UPDATE: From Howard Kurtz over at the Daily Beast:
A knowledgeable official said the move had nothing to do with Comcast taking control of NBC next week, although the cable giant was informed when it received final federal approval for the purchase that Olbermann would be leaving the cable channel. This official described the dramatic divorce—Olbermann was about halfway through a four-year, $30 million contract—as mutual.