"I think the same fantasy popped into the head of everybody in my business who has ever been told what I have been told: this will be the last edition of your show."--- Keith Olbermann (from the beginning of the video above.)
MSNBC issued a statement saying "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."
Lawrence O’Donnell's show "The Last Word" will replace Olbermann's Countdown shows at 8PM and Ed Schultz's show "The Ed Show" will replace the 10PM time slot.
The video above was embedded from MSNBC, found here.
According to The Politico, top executives and other on air personalities were not forewarned and the termination of his contract, two years before it was set to expire was a "stealth move."
The departure was a stealth move, MSNBC insiders told POLITICO, with many top executives and on-air personalities kept out of the loop as the decision was made. It came, one insider said, "Out of the … blue!"
Olbermann has not had a good relationship with management, especially since November when Olbermann was suspended indefinitely for making Democratic campaign contributions in violation of network rules. He was reinstated just days later and provided his far left liberal viewership with a six minute rant upon his return.
The Daily Beast reported at the time of the suspension that MSNBC's president Phil Griffin referred to the problems with Olbermann as "We are at war" after Olbermann threatened to violate even more of his contract rules by taking his case public onto other news shows with interviews.
Keith Olbermann was having dinner with his manager at an Upper East Side restaurant, chewing over their battle to lift his suspension at MSNBC, when Phil Griffin called.
Michael Price stepped out of the Atlantic Grill to talk to MSNBC’s president, leaving his client with a platter of 18 oysters. It was Sunday, Nov. 7, and Price informed Griffin that if they couldn’t resolve their differences quickly, Olbermann would take his complaints public by accepting invitations from Good Morning America, David Letterman, and Larry King.
“Why are you putting us in the position where you’re daring us to do this?” Price demanded, his voice rising.
“If you go on GMA, I will fire Keith,” Griffin shot back. Such a move was clearly grounds for dismissal.
The manager returned to the restaurant. He and Olbermann, who had been pushing hard to end the suspension the next day, discussed whether they would be burning bridges by carrying out the threat. Minutes later, their phones buzzed with emails from reporters, asking about a statement that NBC had just released. Olbermann, it said, would be allowed to return to his prime-time show on Tuesday—a day later than he had wanted.
Price called Griffin again. “What compelled you to do that in that way?” he asked.
“We are at war,” Griffin responded.
Also, other NBC’s front-line stars believed Olbermann has damaged NBC and MSNBC's reputation and network staffers referred to Olbermanns response as "totally narcissistic."
NBC News president, Steve Capus, was also mentioned as thinking Olbermann was "bad for" the organization as a whole.
Even those who admired Olbermann’s broadcasting skills felt that his behavior, such as making his staff leave notes outside his door rather than speaking to him, had gone too far. He was a royal pain, they said, and management had become exhausted trying to rein him in.
Relations are so strained that Olbermann has not spoken directly with Capus or Griffin since the donations controversy erupted. While he is halfway through a four-year, $30 million contract, Olbermann has become, in the words of one staffer, “a man without a country."
Back in February, Top of the Ticket noticed Olbermann's horrible ratings slide and asked in their headline "Countdown begins for end of Keith Olbermann's 'Countdown'?.
In the most desirable TV demographic of 25-54, which Keith will soon outgrow himself, "Countdown" lost 44% of its audience from the beginning of President Obama's term until this year. It could have been worse -- say, 45%.
Speculation is running rampant over the exact reason for what Anderson Cooper has referred to as Olbermann's being "fired" on Twitter, with some even headlining that speculation by blaming Comcast, and Comcast issuing a statement contradicting that speculation.
Update: Brian Stelter reports the following statement from Comcast:
"Comcast has not closed the transaction for NBCU and has no operational control at any of its properties including MSNBC. We pledged from the day the deal was announced that we would not interfere with NBCU’s news operations. We have not & we will not."
MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines confirms that Comcast played no role in Olbermann's departure:
MSNBC spokesman Jeremy Gaines insisted Olbermann's exit had nothing to do with the acquisition of parent company NBC Universal by Comcast, which received regulatory approval last week. That deal marked the exit of NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker, who saw Olbermann's value in turning around a once-unprofitable network, despite headaches the mercurial personality could sometimes cause his bosses.
While no official word has come in on Olbermann's plans going forward, a diary writer over at Daily Kos claims Olbermann will be going back into sports broadcasting:
It will happen (so I'm told) on the channel now known as Versus. It's a sports channel owned by Comcast, and the story I'm hearing is that it will be rebranded as NBC Sportschannel once the takeover is complete, with Keith as its star personality.
If you were watching David Shuster's guest appearance on CNN tonight, you heard him make a key observation: for Keith, it's not about money right now. He has as much money as he'll ever need, so he can do what he wants. And apparently what he really wants is to exact some long-delayed revenge on his bosses at ESPN. (Did you notice the shiv he stuck in their backs yet again in his farewell tonight? Note it carefully. I don't think it was there by accident.)
No doubt more information will be forthcoming in the following days.... but for now, suffice it to say, Goodbye Keith.... and good riddance!!!!
Special additional goodbye - My Name Is Barbra - Happy Days Are Here Again (Live)