Current Ridiculously Fires Keith Olbermann for ‘Disrespect’

Current TV announced today that they have fired Keith Olbermann because he lacked the values of, “respect, openness, collegiality.”

Current TV head honchos Al Gore & Joel Hyatt announced the canning of KO via a memo,

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.

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.

We are moving ahead by honoring Current’s values. Current has a fundamental obligation to deliver news programming with a progressive perspective that our viewers can count on being available daily — especially now, during the presidential election campaign. Current exists because our audience desires the kind of perspective, insight and commentary that is not easily found elsewhere in this time of big media consolidation.

There is something naively surreal about the Current TV statement. This is Keith Olbermann we are talking about. KO has a track record a mile long of being difficult to work with. What did they really expect? (I also have a sneaking suspicion that the folks and Current didn’t quite live up to their end of the bargain, and Olbermann likely has some valid reasons for disappointment). Keith Olbermann has had trouble with his bosses no matter where he has worked before. Olbermann is one of the best broadcasting talents out there, and many including myself thought that by making KO his own boss would provide the perfect creative environment for him.

The Olbermann/Current TV marriage was a surprise when it was announced, but the Countdown broadcast itself provided a unique outlet for stories that too often were ignored, such as Occupy Wall Street. The conflict between Olbermann and Current had been brewing since January. It all began with a very public battle over GOP primary coverage, and it ended with Olbermann being shown the door today.

Unlike when Keith Olbermann and MSNBC parted ways, Al Gore and Current TV made it clear that they were firing the Countdown host. The move to Current was always a questionable one for both sides. It was obvious from the very beginning that the channel did not have the budget for the kind of studio and setup that a name brand like Countdown needed. Olbermann did good shows there, but he never really seemed to get comfortable at Current. Even at its best, Countdown was never quite right in its new home.

MSNBC has moved on and done just fine with Ed Schultz providing the 8 PM emotion with a dash of bluster program. After MSNBC and now Current TV, Keith Olbermann probably should go be his own boss, and do his own thing.

Firing Keith Olbermann for disrespect is a lot like buying a lion, and then wondering why it is trying to eat you. What you see is what you get with Olbermann, and it would have been more believable if Gore and Hyatt would have said that Olbermann on Current wasn’t working.

The Olbermann/Current fiasco proves the old adage, “If you are going to stick your head out the car window, don’t be surprised if you swallow a bug.” Gore and Current knew what they were getting with KO, so the attempt to cover their own butts by proclaiming him a bad team player doesn’t wash.

If you’re ready to read more from the unbossed and unbought Politicus team, sign up for our newsletter here!

23 Replies to “Current Ridiculously Fires Keith Olbermann for ‘Disrespect’”

  1. My personal opinion is this: I like and agree with much of what Olbie says. His 8 years of Bush in 8 Minutes is one of the finest pieces I have ever seen on youtube

    However the flap over the primaries where things didn’t go his way spelled his doom as far as I am concerned. As much as I like him I would have fired him simply for being a child impersonating a man

  2. As someone who was once nicknamed “Mad Dog Mohammed”,* I can kind of understand Olberman not fitting in with stuffy people.

    *Not my real given or surname.

  3. They gave Keith the title of Chief News Officer, but then denied him the control they had promised. Few people would ever have heard of Current if it weren’t for Keith. They owe him big time!

  4. I loved watching Olbermann on MSNBC, but, for some reason, he seemed uncomfortable at Current (which made me uncomfortable).

    As an aside, the studio ambiance of Current’s various political shows seems weird to me. The lighting is particularly odd. It reminds me of the occasional restaurant which has everything going for it, but the general ambiance and lighting suck. If someone is going to the expense of having a cable show, you’d think that more professional and sophisticated lighting would be first on the list. Otherwise, the customers are just not going to want to sit and stay awhile.

  5. as someone who works in the production world of tv and other content mediums, i can tell you that currentv production team and values are extremely poor. they cheaped out on the total infrastructure. the shows look like cable access. keith since the set meltdown early in production, it was evident there were sever issues, in his return with a stark black drape behind him. the technical snafus were going on all the time, and in one show they went to a commercial right in the middle of a segment, only to return a few seconds later… you pay a guy big bucks and you put him in a college tv station? this has been amateur hour since day one. and i like cenk and steffani miller, but you can see how cheap the production is. even on miller, there are blatant gaffes in production already.

    please gore, your google bucks would have paid to rent a real tv studio, and production team. currentv is only on some cables and sd tier only too. the numbers stink. keith deserves a wider audience. he needs to go to a three hour syndicated radio show, like hartmann, and stream it. he’s got the bank now to do it himself…

  6. Al Gore has proven beyond any doubt whatsoever that he is just a typical Wall Street Capitalist Stalinist Fascist — a power playah who doesn’t have any moral convictions or conscience at all. Gore will lie and say anything to justify his actions. So much for 2016, Al.

    Oh, and I WON’T be watching any more current TV. Jennifer Granholm is just a business-as-usual obsessive/compulsive focuser on the trivial political minutia that has NO RELEVANCE whatsoever to an Occupy world.

    Cenk Uygar is fine but Cenk needs to go back to web broadcasting: I won’t watch AL GORE CURRENT TV anymore. Three TVs in the house are OFF CURRENT TV.

    Al Gore is a major disappointment, probably demonstrating that his inauguration as President in 2001 would have only resulted in a pre-cave-in Obama administration before the real cave-in Obama administration.

    Not a single Democrat in Texas is worth voting for either. And Al Gore can fucking forget 2012. I did think it was “funny” at the time that Keith Olbermann was NOT anchoring coverage of Iowa and other meaningless Republican Primaries and that Cenk and Jennifer we FAR TWO sycophantic, obsequious and deferential to Al Gore who was temporarily and uncomfortably “sitting in” I guess for Olbermann.

    It seems that fat ass Al Gore just cannot make correct Big Decisions — whether on Florida in 2000 or NOW. To Hell with him.

    It is time for the Olbermann Channel and I’ll bet it could be funded by the fans buying stock in $100 or $1000 or even greater numbers.

    Let’s do it.

    Al Gore is just a disgusting, lying jerk. Fuck him. And the horse he rode in on.

  7. “We are moving ahead by honoring Current’s values. Current has a fundamental obligation to deliver news programming with a progressive perspective that our viewers can count on being available daily — especially now, during the presidential election campaign.”

    and if you believe that, Palin has a bridge to sell you

  8. I would agree completely about the ‘ look ‘ of the set. I just started getting Current because I changed Cable providers. The Tv Set looks just sparse and blank.

    I tuned into Cenks Show one day. It looked like a bunch of High School kids sitting around a table talking and looked like some private cable access production.
    On top of that….Cenk’s style even seemed ‘High Schoolish’.It was his way of delivering the News that was off-putting as well. Tried to be sort of high-energy but he was allover the place. Seemed frantic.. un-prepared.. whatever way you want to describe it. NOT ‘ professional’ in 1 word.

    Knowing Spitzer will be the Main News Reporter won’t make me tune in.

  9. I knew something was not right. I use to catch the 2am rerun. When this was not on that gave it away. I never did like the set cutdown. It made him look really distant. Will miss his commatary.

  10. He emphasized that he didnt use a script or teleprompter … and that is obvious. His whole “scene” is high school macho. It grates.

  11. Did Current TV simply use Keith to gain attention and higher ratings? They KNEW what they were getting! Keith injects emotion into his commentary, his intelligent and incisive reporting, his humor, and his relationships….all of which makes his program so interesting. You FEEL his pain, you FEEL his anger, and you FEEL his heart-felt sincerity when he covers a story. He’s never just a talking head! If Keith is absent from Current TV, then I too will be absent from Current TV. Keith is unique- one of the best- hands down; as shown by is coverage of OWS, which was outstanding. I wish him well and hope he is back on the air soon.

  12. I was a fan but did get tired of looking for him only to find a guest host.

    You are correct that he should do his own thing. Sell his own show. I would watch, again.

  13. I think that since Keith Olbermann fought so hard for the goals of the Occupy movement–that Occupy owes it to Olbermann to rally to his rescue. Al Gore made a big mistake on this one and it is now our responsibility to let Current TV know that this was a stupid move…

  14. Who’s drsrespecting whom? Did CurrentTV simply USE Keith to gain attention and higher ratings? They KNEW what they were getting! Did they lure him with big bucks, and then drop him when they were done? Yes, we all know that Keith injects emotion and passion into his commentary, into his intelligent and incisive reporting, and into his humor….all of which makes his program interesting, as well as informative. He’s forceful, honest, and direct: you FEEL his pain, you FEEL his anger, and you FEEL his heart-felt sincerity when he covers a story. And he covers it well. He’s NEVER just another talking head! If Keith is absent from CurrentTV, then I too will be absent from CurrentTV. For Keith is one of the best – hands down- as evidenced by his outstanding coverage of OWS during the past year. I wish him well, and hope that he is back on the air soon. We need his unique voice and viewpoint!

  15. Current TV, is not currently in my programming line up anymore. Back to the old stand by, MSNBC. Hopefully they wise up and bring Keith back. One can only hope.

Comments are closed.