Keith Olbermann Fired from MSNBC
Keith Olbermann, perhaps the most vitriolic left wing voice on American television, has had his contact abruptly terminated by MSNBC.
Commentator Keith Olbermann signed off his msnbc cable television show Friday night after nearly eight years.
“Msnbc and Keith Olbermann have ended our contract,” Phil Griffin, president of msnbc, said Friday.
“Msnbc thanks Keith for his integral role in msnbc’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” Griffin said.
Olbermann announced his departure before closing his show with a reading from a James Thurber novel, a Friday night tradition.
Recounting his move to msnbc after departing ESPN, Olbermann said, “I was supposed to fill in for the late Jerry Nachman for exactly three days. 49 days later there was a four-year contract for me to return to this nightly 8 PM time slot which I had fled four years earlier.”
He noted that the show gradually established an anti-establishment position.
“The program grew thanks entirely to your support with great rewards for me and I hope for you,” Olbermann told viewers.
“There were many occasions particularly in the last two and a half years where all that surrounded the show — but never the show itself — was just too much for me. But your support and loyalty and if I may use the word insistence ultimately required that I keep going.”
“Starting Monday, “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, Griffin said. “The Rachel Maddow Show” will continue to air live at 9 p.m. ET/PT.
MSNBC issued a statement that it had ended its contract with the controversial host, with no further explanation. Olbermann hosted the network’s most popular show, but his combative liberal opinions often made him a target of critics.
Olbermann did not explain why he was leaving.
“MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” the network said.
A spokesman said Phil Griffin, MSNBC’s president, would not comment on Olbermann’s exit. Spokesman Jeremy Gaines would say only that the acquistion of NBC Universal by Comcast, which received regulatory approval this week, had nothing to do with the decision.
This is truly surprising, in that Olbermann’s show was easily the network’s most popular. Granting that this is a distinction on par with being the thinnest kid at fat camp, it’s unusual for a network to abruptly cancel the contract of their highest profile, highest rated star.