Behind the Keith Olbermann Firing: What Went Down? What's Next For Host?

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In the 36 hours since the surprise announcement that MSNBC fired Keith Olbermann, his abrupt exit from a network he helped transform has raised questions.

Why fire a guy with such undisputed value to the network, a figure who - love him or hate him - became one of the best-known figures of the cable news era?

Insiders say no single event got him axed, but for all his eloquence, on-air presence and broadcasting skill, Olbermann was just too difficult to work with.

According to the Washington Post, Olbermann often clashed with his employers, condemning - often publicly - directives with which he has disagreed.

Comcast's recent takeover of NBC merely marked the final straw in a long-brewing deterioration between the top brass and the iconoclastic, mercurial pundit.

Neither side was talking about the events that led Olbermann to announce his exit on his show Friday, but a divorce appeared to be long in the making.

His short-lived and bizarre suspension in November for campaign contributions that violated company policy was perhaps a harbinger of things to come.

So what's next for him now?

Olbermann and MSNBC are operating under an exit agreement, the product of lengthy negotiations, that limits, first off, each side from commenting publicly.

Sources say Olbermann's agent went to NBC looking for a raise for Keith, claiming he was underpaid (compared to his counterparts) at $7 million per year.

NBC would not pay more money and made clear they felt he was "a loose cannon that could not be controlled." At that point, it was just a question of when.

According to a person with knowledge of the discussions, the agreement also ties Olbermann to a "non-compete" provision but pays his salary through 2012.

He won't be allowed to appear on a competing TV network for an undisclosed period, but how long that is (three months, six months, a year) is unclear.

The long and short of it? Keith Olbermann saw the writing on the wall with the new owner of NBC and cut a deal for his exit to give him money and options.

Sources say Olbermann may reappear soon "with a presence on the Internet," and may return to sports broadcasting or commentary in some capacity.

Don't expect a return to ESPN, with which Keith parted on terms as bad as these if not worse. But the avid baseball fan could resurface elsewhere.

As for a return to TV, you have to imagine it's just a matter of time. When the non-compete runs out, someone will take a chance on the lightning rod.

Wherever he ends up, a legion of supporters will surely follow, while a fair number of detractors will continue to delight in his toppling from MSNBC.

Here's Keith's final Countdown signoff on Friday night ...


HEY JIZZIL........could your spelling BE any worse!?!?! LOL! You even misspelled KEITH, you know....the libtard fool this story is about! Here's a tip for ya: Ask your mom to drill a few more air holes from the basement to the outside world for ya. You'll notice that being a "basement blogger" will become a little more fun once your brain cells come back to life!


This message is to kieth olberman u was the reallest liberal show host out there will miss ya hope you get another show soon, To kieth olberwomen sean hannity, and gay beck are both right wing rhetorical terrorist with not a ounce of honesty, or intelligence. There whole agenda is to put fear in the minds of people like you and create a false sense of security in the belief of being prepared for the fake conspiracies that they create.


I never watched this network MSNBC. The Management of MSNBC has a reputation problem and now a ratings problem. Can someone publish the main advertisers on MSNBC so their products can be boycotted? Keith started as a local news reader, went into sports broadcasting, came back as a political commentator and ended up as a friend of Michael Moore. Maybe Michael Moore will have a show on MSNBC.


That's the hypocrisy of the liberal media and Hollywood. These clowns make a ton of money, always want more, then rail against big and small business which actually puts people to work. What do they do to put people to work? Nothing!


Sick, deranged, megalomaniac, who in the end showed his true CAPITALISTIC colors by "demanding more money"! REALLY, KEITH!? REALLY!? I thought your message all along, as a dyed-in-the-wool libtard was to SHUN money! To SHUN, fame! and by all means....SHUN those who have both!? Just goes to show he's nothing but a tired, now UNEMPLOYED, blowhard that got shown the door! HA HA! P.S.....HEY KEITH! Guess what? Bill and Glenn still have their shows, have always had better ratings, and will ALWAYS earn more money than you! LOL!!!!!!!!! P.P.S......Oh, by the way, maybe you can get Obama to put you on a short wave radio station so he can say he "saved one more job"! NOT! LOL!


Jim - The "recent study" you speak of was probably concocted by the very political party you blindly follow. What's really scary is that pseudo-intellects such as yourself, buy everything your party throws out there. Meanwhile, you'll likely eat up conspiracy theories such as "Sarah Palin is responsible for the Tucson shooting." Get a life, my friend! You, Hollywood and the liberal media all have a love affair with a President who may have been a good hack as a Professor, spewing out the Liberal agenda, but he is an ineffective President. You seem blind to the fact that small business, the very thing that drives America's success, is his, and apparently your, enemy.


What do you mean my wife ? I'm proud gay democrat. I'll bring my gay black boyfriend over for a threesome stud.


yeah served in a war huh luie, maybe you should tell all these people that only 100 of us go outside the wire to the real fights while the other 1900 of YOU fobbits tell the stories...and act like the big MAN that you supposedly are.i did serve in a war i did loose men and dont go around spouting it like im better than anyone, at least someone like keith has the balls to tell the truth..good luck Keith. hope to see you soon.


homo tendencies and small penis? Bring your wife over and we can test that theory...


To all you naive idiots who think it's about the noble message.......It's all about the cash. No one watched this dick head. If Charlie Manson could draw an audience, he'd have his own show.