Keith Olbermann has been fired by Current TV, the network announced Friday. He will be replaced by former New York governor and CNN host Eliot Spitzer.
“We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet. We are more committed to those goals today than ever before,” explained Current TV in its statement.
“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.”
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.”
“Keith’s termination is baseless,” his lawyer Patricia Glaser says. “We will sue them for their improper conduct. They made a bad decision. They can expect a bad result.”
Olbermann also released statement, an apology to viewers for joining Current which he says was a “sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one”.
“Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff,” the statement writes.
“Nevertheless, 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.”
Olbermann had hosted “Countdown” since June. His short TV-term began with fanfare, but ended, as many of Olbermann’s previous jobs have, with deep acrimony on both sides.
According to the Huff Post, Spitzer, who had his own short-lived stint as the host of “Parker Spitzer” on CNN, began hosting his show, “Viewpoints,” immediately on Friday night. He didn’t mention anything of Olbermann or his somewhat unusual arrival to the post at the top of the show.
Politico writes that Olbermann started created troubles for Current after he had not participated in the network’s coverage of the early primaries. Although he appeared in later broadcasts, reports appeared detailing Olbermann’s unhappiness with the technical limitations of his New York studio and lack of input into Current’s programming decisions.
Olbermann, often citing medical issues, also began missing some days of work, something that apparently was used against him in his firing. One of the people who had filled in for him, ironically, was Eliot Spitzer.