View Full Version : Current TV fires Keith Olbermann

03-30-2012, 07:15 PM

Current TV has fired Keith Olbermann, citing a lack of “respect” and “collegiality” in its relationship with him, following months of open warfare between Olbermann and Current executives in the press.

He will be replaced by Eliot Spitzer, the former New York governor who had been a frequent guest on “Countdown” since its earliest days on Current — and whose own show on CNN was canceled last year.

The move comes just over a year after Current hired Olbermann amid great fanfare, announcing its plans to build its new identity as a more progressive alternative to MSNBC around him. But it also comes little more than a year after Olbermann abruptly left MSNBC, announcing his departure during his final show in only the latest in the string of stormy departures that have marked his career.

“Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers,” write Current founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt in an open memo to viewers. “Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.”

Olbermann responded to this tersely worded statement by threatening to sue.

“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,” he said in a statement distributed by his manager. “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.”

Signs of trouble first appeared when Olbermann did not participate in the network’s coverage of the early primaries. Although he appeared in later broadcasts, the tension leaked into increasingly tough stories detailing Olbermann’s unhappiness with the technical limitations of his New York studio and lack of input into Current’s programming decisions.

A source familiar with the situation says Olbermann was fired for breach of contract, including a failure to show up for work, sabotaging the network and attacking Current and its executives.

In January and February, for example, he missed 19 out of 41 working days, including the nights of the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, according to the source. He also rankled executives by asking for a vacation day on March 5th, the eve of Super Tuesday.

For his part, Olbermann had been frustrated by the technical problems that plagued his New York studio as it struggled to produce live television for the first time, according to several reports. Lights went out during show on multiple occasions, and sometimes interviews cut-off in the middle to jump to commercial.

Olbermann had a particularly tense relationship with David Bohrman, the former CNN executive who was brought in as Current president last summer, following the departure of Mark Rosenthal, an executive with whom Olbermann got along well.

There was noticeable tension between Bohrman and Olbermann from the get-go, said a source familiar with the situation.

“It seemed like Bohrman had it in for Keith since Bohrman got hired at Current TV,” said the source. The source asserted Bohrman used Olbermann’s show as “a guinea pig for trying out new talent” on Current’s airwaves, such as Spitzer and Bill Press, both of whom guest hosted “Countdown.”

Bohrman “brought in all his own people,” said the source, asserting Bohrman favored folks with CNN ties, including Shelley Lewis, who was the lead producer for CNN’s “American Morning” and is now Current’s executive vice president for programming. Spitzer, of course, also came from CNN.

Spitzer’s show, “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer,” launches Friday at 9 p.m. When few others were giving coverage to Occupy Wall Street last year, Olbermann made the protests a focus, and frequently had Spitzer on as one of the movement’s most passionate defenders.

03-31-2012, 12:24 AM
Darn..Less disposable Hobby $$$$$ :( Cmon Olberman

03-31-2012, 11:01 AM
He missed 19 of 41 work days in a two month period and he thinks he has grounds for a lawsuit? I have always thought that Olberman was a bit of an idiot but you would have to be downright stupid to think that you can miss that much work and keep your job or have grounds to sue because you were fired.

03-31-2012, 11:02 AM
Olberman keeps illustrating that it doesn't matter how smart and witty you are. If you are an absolute jerk, nobody will want to work with you.

03-31-2012, 09:21 PM
Olberman keeps illustrating that it doesn't matter how smart and witty you are. If you are an absolute jerk, nobody will want to work with you.

I almost never agree with you on anything... but you are 100% correct here.

04-02-2012, 08:21 AM
Olberman keeps illustrating that it doesn't matter how smart and witty you are. If you are an absolute jerk, nobody will want to work with you.

Maybe I won't have to hear him anymore. He should've stuck to sports. His show(s) used to be decent some years ago, but they just turned into Olbermann running his mouth a whole bunch.

04-02-2012, 08:36 AM
I remember the good old days with Keith and Dan on sportscenter

04-02-2012, 09:16 AM
From what I have read on other media outlets, he was a pain to work with. Complaining about his limo service because one of the drivers wanted to talked to him, not wanting to fill out the voucher for the service, etc. I think overall he deserved to be fired. But I am also sure that he is not going to have any issues finding another job.

04-02-2012, 12:43 PM
Olbermann has been hated by colleagues since his days on SportsCenter. At ESPN's big 25 Years of SC celebration a few years back, he was the only former anchor not invited back.

Granted, ESPN is an absolutely toxic place to work according to a lot of people who have been there, but still, Olbermann was a massive d-bag regardless.

BTW, if you ever get the chance, read his and Dan Patrick's book The Big Show.