Keith Olbermann to Sue Current TV After Being Fired

Current TV has parted ways with Keith Olbermann.

Keith_olbermannWrote Network founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt in a 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. 

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.

Olbermann replied on Twitter that he will sue the network:

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 implied 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.

Olbermann will be replaced by a program hosted by Eliot Spitzer.


  1. Brian in Texas says

    “I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.”

    Lol. Such a diva. This is how most of his TV gigs have ended: ESPN, Fox Sports, MSNBC, and now Current. He’s very talented though so it will be interesting to see where he lands. Maybe he should just go back to sports.

  2. Brian in Texas says

    It’s also hard to justify a fledging network paying an anchor $10 million a year for a show that has about 175,000 viewers a night. But, the publicity they have gotten out of all this drama with Olbermann over the last year is priceless. So maybe it was worth it.

  3. Don says

    I have enjoyed watching Keith when he was on MSNBC and Current but it appears the problems that follow Keith wherever he goes seem to have a common factor, Keith!

    Perhaps his demands and ego are to much for most?

  4. say what says


    I once loved and sided with keith BUT 3 times now is a pattern

    1- fired from fox 2001 = who cares it was Faux

    2- Msnbc fired = pissed at Msnbc

    3- now current = 3 times is a pattern and obviously keith was not as innocent in the issues as he once claimed

  5. michael says

    Keith Olbermann is just too much of a divisive figure for the American palate, which is why no U.S. media outlet will touch him. That’s why he’s so effin’ AWESOME! This man has stood toe to toe with the most evil of political hypocrites and stood his/our ground. This man deserves our praise, not our derision, folks.

  6. Jeremy says

    I really have never enjoyed Keith, even sometimes he’s very supportive to the LGBT community. Something about him screams “power abuser” to me. You know, like the behaviors of high-profile politicians who simply being A-holes regardless what parties they belong to.

  7. bravo says

    Olberman would get fired within a year from Public Access TV. He’s professionally unstable and more grandiose than ever. I only he can find a mirror big enough to console him.

  8. says

    I have to agree with Jeremy. I used to watch Olbermann on MSNBC and tuned in again when he went to Current. But around the time of the Occupy Wall Street protests, he seemed to become increasingly unhinged and I stopped watching. I doubt I was the only one.

  9. Alan says

    Fired again? He couldn’t even keep a job at the worst network ever? Terrible luck that he keeps getting hired by great people who turn out to be horrible right around the time he leaves.

    Poor little bathtub boy. He’ll survive.

  10. dearcomrade says

    Seems to be a common thread with the comments here. We all liked watching Keith and gave him the benefit of the doubt a couple of times. He was off the air more than on at Current and I finally gave up on the guy. Adios Mr. Prima Donna

  11. Jersey says

    I might be more on his side if every time I turned on his show (which I dvr every day) I didn’t find Sam Seder, or David Schuster or Elliot Spitzer instead of KO. When was the last time he actually appeared on his own show? It seems like months. I thought he was maybe off tracking down talent here I find he’s locked himself in his dressing room and is holding his breath because he hates All Gore? Thanks but now that we have Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry and Rachel I say Keith who?

  12. Craig says

    Well he was the only reason to watch blurry Current TV. Maybe he can get a gig like Bill Maher’s where he isn’t censored and he can say what’s on his mind.

  13. MarkUs says

    10 million a year / 175,000 viewers? On a good night. I just read he averaged about 50,000 which means that the local mariachi radio station in NYC had the same number listening as he did nationwide.
    (Direct reference from a NY press article online)

    And as promised, a special comment: HaHAHA. Jerk.

  14. DLRnATL says

    @Bierce: Maybe Mr. Gore discovered Keith wasn’t ManBearPig.

    Seriously, I didn’t get Current on my cable package, so I didn’t get to see if the show had become bad. I do hope Keith finds a new home soon, watching him on MSNBC not only opened my eyes to what the right was doing to LGBT but to a whole host of other issues.

  15. Bob R says

    I have always been a big Keith fan, but I’ve given up on him after this Current fiasco. Gore and company offered him a great deal given his reputation; heading the news department, part ownership, great salary.

    I got tired tuning in night after night only to find him not there. It got to be he would make guest appearances on his own show. Granted the production values were bad, but Current is a fledgling operation and needs to be nurtured. Current TV is NOT MSNBC, Fox News, or another major operation with lots of cash.

    I don’t think we’ll be seeing Keith again anytime soon. After this, who wants to deal with him? He’ll end up on the web doing podcasts and blogging, but other than Youtube, I think Keith’s TV days in this country are over. Too bad, he let his ego get in his way.

  16. Alan says

    So let me get this straight. After all of this Rush Limbaugh fuss, instead of getting Rush fired, you get Keith fired, instead.

    Seriously. I think it’s time for a new game plan. Whining about Rush isn’t working and whining about Keith is doing no good.

    Until the Dems and the liberals get new leaders, this is what you are stuck with.

    Pathetic. Enough failing. Enough already. This is an embarrassment. ALL of you should be ashamed of yourself.

  17. Ealan14 says

    Wow, I never watched him on Current, and while I sorta liked him on MSNBC, the guy is clearly a diva!! How many more time can he “part ways” with an employer before he becomes kryptonite. He’s becoming the Shannen Doherty of the news industry.

  18. says

    I’m really not sure what to think of this. I’m guessing there could have been a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff going on here. Part of me thinks Keith just makes the MSM too uncomfortable, but no doubt ego is also part of the problem.

    What makes him so willing to go out there and go after the people who are the problems in society probably also makes him more likely to have personal problems with his network.

    Ultimately, Keith is probably best off trying to create his own thing and be his own boss. There’s a lot he could do, from creating a syndicated show and allow networks in individual markets to pick it up, or do that with a radio program and air it online, or goodness knows what.

    The show ultimately could be PR for him as much as anything, and he should shift making most of his money with books or documentaries. I’d buy them, and/or go see them.

    Ultimately, he should have just issued suit and not publicly gone after Al Gore. Al Gore has become too much of a Sacred Cow in the progressive movement.

  19. john says

    Have an extra time and a internet connection, Would You like to make up to $4000/month?
    Earn up to 45$/hour on part-time online work, read more here ….

  20. Caliban says

    I nearly always agreed with Keith O’s political positions but too often found HIM to be bombastic and annoying, particularly in his “special comments.”

    My main problem with those segments was that Keith always seemed more interested in showing off his writing style and vocabulary (or thesaurus skills) than he was in getting his point across. It was more important he sound like Edward R Murrow than communicate effectively.

    And according to various sources over the years he was, to put it mildly, no picnic to work with.

  21. PeteP says

    I was a huge fan of Keith’s at MSNBC and credit him for getting me through the Bush years. When he moved to Current, I was excited to see his new show but I was immediately disappointed when his first guest was Markos Moulitsas and all they did was engage in a childish rant against MSNBC. He lost me at that instant and I never watched him again. Since then, I have come to appreciate the MSNBC lineup (Rachel, Lawrence, Chris, Al and Ed) much more. So long Keith. Grow up.

  22. anon says

    I imagine the initial conversation went like this:

    KO: You’re small–I can bring in the viewers! I have legions of loyal fans!

    Years later:

    AG: Keith, the numbers haven’t moved, we’re going to let you go.
    KO: I’m suing!

  23. Humanitarian says

    I think the kindest thing to do would be to pair Keith Olbermann up with Bill O’Reilly and let them blow hot air at each other, but the show should only be taped in winter, to make good use of the hot air.

    Like so many said, I found Keith O. unappealing even when he’s on my side of an issue. He likes the sound of his own voice too much.

  24. Craig says

    @Chris – you must be new to Towleroad, this site has never been entirely a “gay news blog.” If you look at the banner you will see it says “A Site with Homosexual Tendencies” meaning there’s an inclination towards but it’s not what it’s all about.

  25. Marco Charan says

    If Towleroad felt it was relevant to post Olbermans tweet regarding the Clarence B. Cain lawsuit, which was against Current TVs co-founder, Mr Hyatt, why didn’t this site put that lawsuit into context?

    Not that I find bigotry against HIV/AIDS to specifically be a gay-centric issue, it should be noted that Mr Hyatt fired Mr. Cain from his firm because the latter had AIDS.

    This little fact just might play into the culture of Current TV s motives and hiring/firing practices, particularly those decisions dictated by Mr. Hyatt.

    While I am not a big Olberman fan, I definately question the reasoning behind anyone terminated by Mr Hyatt.

  26. gregory brown says

    Oh, sure–replace a decent commentator whose personal life seems to be clean with a bright but morally compromised man with the highest regard for Family Values. It would have been less reprehensible to replace Olbermann with Geraldo Rivera.

  27. Bill Michael says

    I could never understand why Olbermann signed on with a propaganda organization like “Current” in the first place. I guess he thought he could make a difference.

  28. Roger says

    Keith has done more to bring us up to speed on issues that affect gays than anyone else except Rachel. He is also the last place one could look for liberal media coverage that the right wing is always complaining about. I found Current TV’s productions shabby–and they still are–as thought they were filming in a photo booth. They are not HD and they are very hard to find across the country. Could that have upset Keith? Were promises not kept on Current’s side? I shall miss Keith except for the Friday nite Thurber nonsense. I love Saki but if I had a program on TV I wouldn’t make everyone share my habit. Good by Keith and Godspeed.

  29. LincolnLounger says

    Olbermann vs. Al Gore. It’s like choosing between a poke in the eye or a punch in the groin.

    Good riddance to unemployable Keith. Hopefully, we will be saying farewell soon to Current TV. All three households who watch it will be SO disappointed.

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