Skip to main content

Keith Olbermann is no longer with Current TV, effective immediately. From a letter from Current Founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt:

KO
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.  

We are moving ahead by honoring Current's values. Current has a fundamental obligation to deliver news programming with a progressive perspective that our viewers can count on being available daily -- especially now, during the presidential election campaign. Current exists because our audience desires the kind of perspective, insight and commentary that is not easily found elsewhere in this time of big media consolidation.

As we move toward this summer's political conventions and the general election in the fall, Current is making significant new additions to our broadcasts. We have just debuted six hours of new programming each weekday with Bill Press ("Full Court Press" at 6 am ET/3 am PT) and Stephanie Miller ("Talking Liberally" at 9 am ET/6 pm PT).    

We’re very excited to announce that beginning tonight, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer will host “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer,” at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. Eliot is a veteran public servant and an astute observer of the issues of the day. He has important opinions and insights and he relishes the kind of constructive discourse that our viewers will appreciate this election year. We are confident that our viewers will be able to count on Gov. Spitzer to deliver critical information on a daily basis.

All of these additions to Current's lineup are aimed at achieving one simple goal -- the goal that has always been central to Current's mission: To tell stories no one else will tell, to speak truth to power, and to influence the conversation of democracy on behalf of those whose voices are too seldom heard. We, and everyone at Current, want to thank our viewers for their continued steadfast support.

Sincerely,

Al Gore & Joel Hyatt
Current's Founders

Olbermann came to Current last summer; his program Countdown with Keith Olbermann began airing on June 20 at 8:00 PM.

The show will be replaced by a new one hosted by former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, "Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer".

2:06 PM PT: Brian Stelter of the New York Times broke the news via Twitter. From Think Progress:

Olbermann had been dismissed from MSNBC when he signed his deal with Current, and though he was at one point a high-profile acquisition for the network, founded by former Vice President Al Gore to provide a more progressive take on the news. But his ratings fell and his relationship with Current quickly foundered.

2:10 PM PT: From The Atlantic Wire:

Olbermann has publicly spatted with his network a lot over the past few months. But of course, no story on Olbermann goes without his own enthusiastic take on it, and we expect fireworks will make this interesting. Apparently, there won't be any ceremony, Stelter reports. Olbermann's dismissal is immediate, and Eliot Spitzer will take over his time slot beginning Friday night. Yowza! Of course, no story on Olbermann goes without his own enthusiastic take on it, which we await with anticipation. It'll also be interesting to see where he lands. We hear Rupert Murdoch's got a new sports network in the making ...

2:13 PM PT: From Variety:

There had been numerous reports in recent months about friction between the cable network, which counts former Vice President Al Gore as one of its backers, and Olbermann, who also had a tempestuous breakup with MSNBC.

2:31 PM PT: From the New York Times, Olbermann's many unexcused absences were partly to blame for his dismissal.

2:35 PM PT: From Keith himself via Twitter (@KeithOlbermann):

KO






2:40 PM PT: From Twitter (@KeithOlbermann)

1/ I'd like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV. Editorially, Countdown had never been better.
2/ But for more than a year I have been imploring @AlGore and @JoelHyatt to resolve our issues internally,
3/ 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.
4/ Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program,
5/ finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract. It goes almost without saying that the claims against me
6/ in Current's statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently.
7/ To understand Mr. Hyatt’s “values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty,” I encourage you to read of a previous occasion
8/ Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee. That employee’s name was Clarence B. Cain:
9/ 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
10/ that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one.
11/11 That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.

2:46 PM PT: From TwitLonger:

My full statement:

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 Al Gore and Joel Hyatt 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 implied 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. http://nyti.ms/...

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.

7:02 PM PT: From The Hollywood Reporter:

Keith Olbermann was informed on Thursday morning that Current was terminating its five-year, $50 million contract with its star anchor.

The network sent an email to Olbermann’s agent, Nick Khan at ICM, on Thursday morning stating that Olbermann was being let go for “material, serial breach of contract” and informed him that Eliot Spitzer would take Countdown’s 8 p.m. timeslot effective immediately. (Spitzer will keep Olbermann’s staff and film his show, Viewpoint, out of the same Manhattan studio.)

According to knowledgeable sources, the issues were Olbermann’s repeated unauthorized absences as well as “sabotaging the network” and “attacking Current and its executives.”

Current has asserted that Olbermann missed 19 out of 41 working days in January and February. Then on Monday, Feb. 27, Olbermann asked for a vacation day on the following Monday, March 5, one day before the Super Tuesday GOP vote. Olbermann was told that he could not have the day off, and if he took it, he would be in breach of contract. He took the day off. But he was on the air the following day for Current’s Super Tuesday coverage.

With a split between Olbermann and Current inevitable, Current began talking to Spitzer, who has been a guest on Countdown, late last year, according to sources. But many industry observers assumed it would be Olbermann who extricated himself from Current. In January, Olbermann’s lawyer, Patricia Glaser, was exploring whether Current violated Olbermann’s contract by pre-empting Countdown for Politically Direct coverage of the Iowa caucuses with network personalities Cenk Uygur, Jennifer Granholm and co-founder Al Gore.

More...
EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences