Keith Olbermann brought star power to cable news/opinion channel Current, formed by Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to bring a progressive take on the news of the day to viewers. But he also brought dissension and conflict to the network, and as a result Current has decided to cancel his program and replace it with one hosted by Eliot Spitzer.
The network was hoping to significantly raise its profile with Olbermann, and signed him after his abrupt depaparture from MSNBC, where he was also the marquee host and a handful to work with.
Both sides apologized to Current viewers, with Olbermann saying he plans to take legal action against the network’s founders.
In its letter to viewers, Current founders Gore and Hyatt wrote, “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.”
They used the letter to announce the new program that will be taking over Olbermann’s slot on the schedule: “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.”
Olberman apologized for the failure of Current, but said that his own “Countdown” program had never been better from an editorial standpoint, and said he’d been keeping it going while “imploring” Gore and Hyatt to resolve differences with the host.
“Nevertheless,” said Olbermann, “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. It goes almost without saying that the claims against me in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently.” He said his joining Current was a wel;-intentioned but ultimately foolish decision on his part, and closed by apologizing for his own lack of judgment.
RBR-TVBR observation: Does anybody out there see a path forward for Olbermann? He now has a solid track record of being both expensive and troublesome. Not a combination many will be willing to take on, we suspect.