According to CNN, Keith Olbermann has been fired from Current TV and his prime time show “Countdown” will be replaced by a show starring former Governor Elliott Spitzer. The news comes as a result of an open letter released by Current TV founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt on their website where they accused Olbermann of not honoring the values of the network.
Olbermann has had a long history of adversarial relationships with networks and their executives. His battle with ESPN executives was public knowledge but he stayed with the network for 20 years due to his ability to draw high ratings. His move to MSNBC with his liberal talk show “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” was a ratings hit for MSNBC and paved the way for other shows with a similar platform such as “The Rachel Maddox Show”. However, he was suspended briefly after it was discovered that he donated to three democratic candidates and abruptly exited the network in January 2011.
According to “The New York Times”, there were reports of infighting from the very beginning of Olbermann’s transition to Current TV in February 2011 but began to spill over into the media this January when Olbermann failed to film special GOP election coverage. However, Hyatt, Olbermann and other network officials attempted to portray a united front when asked about rumors of turmoil. Behind the scenes, the relationship continued to disintegrate and culminated in today’s announcement.
Olbermann fired back via Twitter shortly after the announcement from Current TV and says that he plans to pursue legal action against the network. Olbermann went on to say “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.” There is a lot at stake for Olbermann who signed a 5 year $50 million contract with Current TV in February of last year.
“Viewpoint with Elliot Spitzer” will debut tonight at 7pm.