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MSNBC loudmouth Keith Olbermann Friday night walked off the set of his “Countdown” show, out of the studio, off the job and out of having to work to earn the unpaid portion of the remaining two years of his four-year $30 million a year contract.
Saying he was told that Friday’s show was the last of his eight-year run at MSNBC–in other words the network fired his megalomaniac ass — Olbermann is apparently NBC”’s latest Conan O’Brien, the former Tonight Show host dumped by the peacock network exactly one-year ago.
There are, of course, differences, in the O”Brien-Olbermann saga: O’Brien has a talent — comedy – While Olberman’s primary shtick — a monumental ego overrun by a hopeless desire to be taken seriously as a political pontificate r — was an impossible dream.
Olberman never was — anything more than a second-tier sportscaster with delusions of political expertise that never existed. Olbermann hyped liberal causes without shame, carried on a vicious personal war with high-profile right-wingers like Bill O’Reilly and twisted his falling rating numbers with a propaganda campaign that would make Dick Cheney proud.
When champagne-sipping partygers at NBC passed the word at Rockefeller Center Friday, the mood was more celebratory than sorrow. Olbermann may have been MNSNC’s big money maker, but his diva approach to his job outnumbered incoming from ad dollars. Olbermann’s monumental ego, legendary temper-tantrums and diva-style demands destroyed morale at the network. Word of his departure sent cheers through the hallways of NBC.
And while the departure seemed abrupt — it was in fact weeks in the making. Parities for both sides began working on on severance contracts before the Thanksgiving holiday. After right years, Olbermann had long ago worn out the welcome mat at MNSBC. His ego, demands for special treatment, tirades against other staff — often in front of others — and superior attitude outweighed the ratings success he had brought to MNBC.
The current tour was Olbermann’s second round at the network. His first, spawned during the BIll Clinton-Monica Lewisnky crisis ended badly when Olbermann openly questions his employer’s questioning of his left-wing hero.
A follow-up gig at ESNPN ended messily when Olberln again couldn’t keep his mouth shut about what he saw as his bosses’ shortcomings.
MSNBC almost gave Olbermann the boot in November amid revelations he had contributed to Democratic candidates, including Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona Congresswoman seriously wounded when a deranged man opened fire at a Tuscon shopping mall, killing six — including a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge.
The network suspended Olbermann, who apologized to readers but not to the network for the lapse in journalistic ethics. This angered some executives who decided it was time for Olbermann to go.
Olderman’s departure comes as the relatively-conservative Comcast network prepares to take over the network from its more liberal current owner General Electric. Concast executives claim they had nothing to do with Olbermann’s firing and note that the process was undwerway before they they started the NBC takeover but that don’t stop the left-wing conspiracy crowd from claiming the whole thing was a set up.
Such claims overlook an important fact. Despite all his bragging, Olberman’s ratings never came close to Fox’s Number #1 anchor. Bill-O,as Olbermann liked to call jo,e, beat Olbermann’s numbers nightly. They weren’t even close.
Olbermann, who loved to call O’Reilly a liar from the first, was in fact a liar himself and got what liars deserve — fired.
(WRITER’S NOTE: The original draft of this article contained way too many typographical errors and should never have been published in that condition. Several excuses have been offered here by readers — a severe back condition by me as one — but nothing can excuse the number of typos in the article. My apologies to readers.)