Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Current TV gives Keith Olbermann the boot

By DOUG THOMPSON
March 31, 2012

Keith Olbermann in happier days (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

Bombastic left-wing talk show host Keith Olbermann — who seldom held a job he couldn’t be fired from — found himself out of work once again Friday when Current TV announced just before his scheduled broadcast that he was gone.

Current TV bosses Al Gore and Joel Hyatt said in a statement that their network was “founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers.  Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Mr. Olbermann and we have ended it.”

Olbermann countered online with:

It goes almost without saying that the claims against me implied in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently.

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.

Current actually fired Olbermann by letter a day early but announced Friday he would not be going on the air and that his show would be replaced that night with a new program, Viewpoint, hosted by former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, who left office during a scandal over his dalliances with a high-priced call girl.

Olbermann’s firing ended a stormy relationship with Gore and Current TV that lasted less than a year and represented a sharp turnaround from the hoopla from the announcement of his hiring with a five-year, multimillion dollar contract last year after MSNBC fired for much of the same reasons.

Olbermann, characterized by those who work with him as “an ego-maniacal bully,” failed to show up for a number of shows during his short tenure at Current and clashed with his bosses over election night coverage, production problems and other issues.

“He is nothing short of a monster,” one Current employee told Capitol Hill Blue. “He bullies people, thinks he is a god and throws temper tantrums that would embarrass a child.  I’m glad he’s gone.”

Sources within Current TV say the mood around the network Friday was more relief than shock.  Olbermann’s outbursts, demands and demagoguery had, one employee said, created “a morale-robbing tension among the staff.”

Gore and Hyatt hoped to build a new prime-time, left-leaning prime time schedule around Olbermann but while his show brought new viewers to Current his numbers never approached his ratings at MSNBC and he lagged far behind his right-wing nemesis Bill O’Reilly at Fox News Channel.

Current’s official reasons for canning Olbermann include “serial, material breach of contract” and “unauthorized absences” but the central reason was that Gore and Hyatt decided Olbermann just wasn’t worth the costs and headaches.

Olbermann now calls his decision to join Current “a foolish one.”

On that part, he and his former employers finally agree.

Enhanced by Zemanta

5 Responses to Current TV gives Keith Olbermann the boot

  1. Hal Brown

    March 31, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Too bad for Keith that he burned his bridges with MSNBC. Look at Dan Rather, who has never to my knowledge been accused of egomania. He is now regularly on one or another of the evening MSNBC shows as a guest. Few would have known he is on HDNet if it wasn’t for his exposure on MSNBC.

    His sober, analytic opinion commentary reminds me of the time when the likes of McNeil and Lehrer, Tom Brokaw, Roger Mudd. Harry Reasoner, Leslie Stahl, Chet Huntley and David Brinkley presented real news, and opinion was labeled clearly.

    Unless Fox News makes him an offer his ego won’t let him refuse, you won’t see him on television. I wouldn’t rule Fox News out since they seem quite tolerant of bullies and having a ranting leftie who was fired by Al Gore might give them a ratings boost.

    If he’s off the big screen, fans shouldn’t completely despair since they can always read his tweets.

  2. Doug Thompson

    March 31, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    I’m not sad to see Olbermann go. I’ve met him and he is an arrogant, self-centered horse’s ass. TV and journalism is better off without him.

    As for Rather, I shared a panel with him some years ago and found him pretty much the same as Olbermann. He was well known about CBS as a bully and in love with himself.

    • Hal Brown

      April 1, 2012 at 7:13 am

      Interesting about your impression of Dan Rather’s personality. Here is an off-the-air piece showing him fussing over his wardrobe:

      http://www.mydamnchannel.com/Harry_Shearer/Found_Objects/684_438.aspx

      If you Google Katie Couric Bashes Dan Rather you can see her mocking him while spending time fussing over whether or not to have her trench coat open or closed.

      Rather seems deadly serious while Couric is smiling and laughing

      Back to Olbermann, if I were Roger Ailes I would be courting him to be a regular commentator on Fox News so they could bolster their claim to be fair and balanced (or unbalanced) by pairing him with one of their equally bombastic bloviators.

  3. Rick

    March 31, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    This is a despicable individual with a track record of treating the worker bees like crap. I am positive there are very few tears being shed over this ill tempered lout getting canned.

  4. stan chaz

    April 1, 2012 at 3:27 am

    Did Current TV simply use Keith to gain attention and higher ratings? They KNEW what they were getting! Yes, Keith injects emotion into his commentary, into his intelligent and incisive reporting, and into his humor….all of which makes his program interesting, as well as informative. He’s forceful, honest, and direct: you FEEL his pain, you FEEL his anger, and you FEEL his heart-felt sincerity when he covers a story. And he covers it well. He’s never just another talking head! If Keith is absent from Current TV, then I too will be absent from Current TV. For Keith is one of the best- hands down- as evidenced by his outstanding coverage of OWS during the past year. I wish him well, and hope that he is back on the air soon. We need his unique voice and viewpoint!