The New York Times' Brian Stelter earlier broke the story that Keith Olbermann had been fired from Current TV, and it feels kind of anti-climactic, doesn't it? For Olbermann, the inconvenient truth is that missing too many work days is going to be the official explanation for his termination, while many imagine the clash of egos that won't be reported on.
According to Current TV, Olbermann failed to honor the terms of his five-year, $50 million contract, and thus was given the boot. During his brief, forty-week tenure at Current TV, Olbermann averaged 177,000 nightly viewers, which made him a big fish in a small pond, compared to the approximately two million eyeballs he drew each night at his MSNBC gig.
The official statement released by the station, with the imprimatur of founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, spoke volumes without saying anything in particular:
"To the viewers of Current:
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 those values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it."
Here's Olbermann's Twitter take:
"I'd like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV. 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. 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 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. In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it."
If you're like me, you maybe meant to watch Olbermann but just never got around to it, because his show was like, out there in the digital boonies with the Pottery Channel or whatever. Client number nine and serious intellect Eliot Spitzer slid comfortably into Olbermann's old time slot Friday night with his new show, Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer, as if nothing had happened. As for Olbermann, he will eventually find a new place to be a brilliant pain in the ass, and make a boatload of money.