Current TV fired TV host Keith Olbermann this past week with four years to go on his contract. According to the New York Times, Olbermann was "just a year into his five-year, $50 million contract."
The network published a March 30 "open letter" announcing the firing. The letter, signed by "Current's founders" Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, read in part:
"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. "
Current added that a new program hosted by former New York governor Eliot Spitzer will replace Olbermann's show.
Olbermann responded with a statement published here on TwitLonger. In his statement, Olbermann defended his program and his actions, writing that "editorially, Countdown had never been better" and that he's been quiet about the issues at the network for the show's benefit.
Olbermann offered an apology "to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV," and called his move to the network a "lack of judgment" and "foolish." He also called "the claims against me implied in Current's statement" false, and said he plans to take the matter to court. "In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out," he added.
The New York Times identified Olbermann as "one of the nation's most prominent progressive speakers" and noted that Olbermann and Current TV have been in "months of murky disputes."
The New York Times noted that Olbermann and Current TV had a few issues, including when Olbermann "declined Current's requests to host special hours of primary election coverage" early this year and Olbermann's March vacation day against Current's "warning...that it would constitute a breach of contract."
The Daily Beast added that Olbermann and Current disagreed about the network's programing line-up, Olbermann's requirements in promoting the network, and missed days of work. According to the Daily Beast, Olbermann "didn't show up for work...19 of 41 days in January and February" ; The Daily Beast indicated that Olbermann may have been allowed to miss the days through "vacation and sick days."
The Daily Beast noted that "neither side would comment because of the likely litigation."
We wrote in November 2010 when Olbermann was suspended without pay indefinitely by his then-network MSNBC for giving money to Democratic political campaigns without the OK from management. His suspension only ended up lasting two work days. Olbermann's MSNBC show was ended in January 2011 with two years left on his contract, as we wrote at the time.
We also wrote in November 2010 when the Philadelphia Daily News was hoaxed by a fake Keith Olbermann interview. The Daily Caller's Tucker Carlson was behind the hoax.