Well That Didn’t Take Long: Keith Olbermann Fired From Current TV

Today Current TV fired Keith Olbermann and immediately replaced ‘Countdown’ with a new show hosted by former New York governor Eliot Spitzer called ‘Viewpoint‘. Current TV released the following statement:

To the Viewers of Current:

We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet. We are more committed to those goals today than ever before.

Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.

The letter is signed by Current TV founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt.

The New York Time’s Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) broke the news via Twitter:

Olbermann will be replaced by “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer,” according to Current TV.

Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) released the following (combined) statements via 11 separate Twitter posts:

I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV. Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring @AlGore and @JoelHyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract. It goes almost without saying that the claims against me in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently. To understand Mr. Hyatt’s “values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty,” I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee. That employee’s name was Clarence B. Cain: In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.

It’s not shocking that Keith Olbermann and Current TV parted ways. What is surprising is that it was Current TV who fired Olbermann and not Olbermann walking away. I don’t know about anybody else, but I’ve regularly watched Countdown since it debuted on Current TV and in the past few months (since the first public outburst) it just hasn’t been the same show to me. It’s felt like a ticking time bomb for months now.

Olbermann will be a guest on the Tuesday episode of The Late Show with David Letterman to tell his side of the story. The question I have is, what’s next for Olbermann? I’m not sure he has many options. He’s burned too any bridges. He might have to think about starting an internet-based show because I can’t imagine any networks knocking down his door.

dks

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  • MYMY

    I do think the Current TV version of Countdown was disappointing; and it wasn’t only because the sets were dull and the picture fuzzy.

    It was because Olbermann became stunningly repetitive, and because he couldn’t adapt to the fact that the Obama administration was actually doing interesting a clever things in the face of GOP opposition. Olbermann seemed to be of the Huffington Post persuasion that Obama could do no right, and I got tired of it.

    I quite watching when his coverage of OWS went on and on and on without enough reflection on the events, just standard outrage at the police, which is not what OWS is about, in my view. 

  • MYMY

    I do think the Current TV version of Countdown was disappointing; and it wasn’t only because the sets were dull and the picture fuzzy.

    It was because Olbermann became stunningly repetitive, and because he couldn’t adapt to the fact that the Obama administration was actually doing interesting a clever things in the face of GOP opposition. Olbermann seemed to be of the Huffington Post persuasion that Obama could do no right, and I got tired of it.

    I quite watching when his coverage of OWS went on and on and on without enough reflection on the events, just standard outrage at the police, which is not what OWS is about, in my view. 

    • It was very promising the first few months. While not as polished as the MSNBC version, I was surprised it wasn’t that far away given the (I assume) very different budgets. On one hand I was glad Olbermann covered Occupy Wall Street, but on the other hand I do agree that the OWS coverage got stale. I think reporting on the police brutality was appropriate, but overdone.

  • zane1

    Towards the end he just reminded me of myself when I had job burn out. He really looked like he hated being there & I got tired of the fake rants & strange voices.  

    • That’s a good way to describe it and I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who detected this. You just had this feeling that he was doing it because he had a contract, was making money, and still had fans tuning in but that he wasn’t really doing it with the passion he once had.

      • zane1

        Yes, he saw us through some dark days but it’s hard to be too supportive of him right now.

        • I like Olbermann and the passion he has shown for important issues but it’s unfortunate that he has to be so combative with his employers.

  • I like how Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer is using the ‘Countdown’ set just stripped down. I do think the backdrop they used for the close-up shots on Friday’s debut episode was several notches above the backdrops of the two shows surrounding ‘Viewpoint’, but the overall set needs to be overhauled. It’s very bland.