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Current TV fires Keith Olbermann
Keith Olbermann has been bounced by Current TV, a year and a month after joining the network. And in a statement he just tweeted, Olbermann says he plans to sue his former partner.
Meanwhile, he will be replaced by — sitting down? -- good: Eliot Spitzer. The former governor's show, entitled "Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer," begins at 8. [Olbermann will be on "Letterman" next Tuesday, too, if you care...]
A statement signed by founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt and delivered as an "open letter" to viewers said:
"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."
Meanwhile, the statement said of Spitzer: "We’re very excited to announce that beginning tonight, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer will host “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer,” at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Eliot is a veteran public servant and an astute observer of the issues of the day. He has important opinions and insights and he relishes the kind of constructive discourse that our viewers will appreciate this election year. We are confident that our viewers will be able to count on Gov. Spitzer to deliver critical information on a daily basis."
Here's Olbermann's reaction, which he just tweeted:
" . . . For more than a year I have been imploring @AlGore and @JoelHyatt 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. 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. 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."
To call this departure "surprising" or "uncharacteristic" would be to beggar the meaning of both words: Olbermann has fought with Current, and his previous employers almost from the day he joined, according to various reports, briefly staged a walkout during one of the channel's most important nights of the year — election coverage of the Iowa caucuses — and got a new boss, David Bohrman from CNN, after he joined, subverting his assumption that he would be the big boss on news-making decisions.
Moreover, Olbermann's visibility has paled since leaving MSNBC (Current is not carried on Cablevision, for example) which has dramatically diminished his standing as one of TV's most effective liberal voices, and certainly as its most strident (in a long diatribe whilst at MSNBC, for example, he told President Bush to "shut the hell up"; it was a characteristic rebuke, frequently directed at other targets, of which there were dozens.)
Spitzer, meanwhile, has had plenty of TV work — notably with CNN on a point-counterpoint-styled show that ultimately became a solo interview program, and was canceled due to very low ratings.
Pictured above: Keith Olbermann joined the Current TV network in February of 2011.