In his first interview since being fired by Current TV, Keith Olbermann told David Letterman on The Late Show Tuesday that “I screwed up really big.”
Explaining his ouster using a drawn-out metaphor, he said, “It’s my fault it didn’t succeed in the sense that I didn’t think the whole thing through."
"I didn’t say, 'you know, if you buy a $10 million chandelier, you should have a house to put it in. Just walking around with a $10 million chandelier isn’t going to do anybody a lot of good, and it’s not going to do any good to the chandelier.'"
"And it turned out we didn’t have a lot to put the house on to put the chandelier in, or a building permit, and I should have known that. And it is my fault at heart."
"Now, I’ve been in situations in my lifetime where the second I agreed to something, I got that sinking feeling in my stomach and I've said to myself on those occasions, ‘Holy goodness, I’ve just made a huge mistake.’”
"So ... you're the chandelier?” Letterman asked, genuinely wondering.
We assume that's what he meant. Olbermann, who was fired by MSNBC before signing on with Current about a year ago, went on to explain:“In that situation, what you’re thinking is, ‘Oh, Lord, this is probably going to hit the water at some point,’ but what do you do? You have – you could bail out and say I’m getting out of this immediately,’ and trust me, I was thinking about that as early as like last July."
"We’d been on the air about 10 days and they fired the guy who knew what he was doing who I worked for and I went, ‘Uh-oh.’"
“But I went home and just sort of had a conversation with myself and said, ‘Look, these – the two important groups that are more important than what I do about myself – the audience who, you know, went to struggle to find where the network was and join me, and, most importantly, the staff.’”
“And I had 25 people who, most of them came with me from other jobs, one guy was with me four different places, and they put their careers at risk for me, and I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to them let alone thank them."
"I’m, you know, I’m so proud of them because the show editorially was never better, but I let them down because the thing didn’t continue.”