On MSNBC’s Friday “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” host Keith Olbermann shocked viewers with the announcement that it would be his final broadcast.
It’s unclear if the relationship ended amicably between NBC Universal and Olbermann. However, a statement posted on NBC Universal’s website on Friday night indicated the two parties have ended their contract.
“MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann’ will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Olbermann was suspended back in November for giving unauthorized donations to political candidates, but was promptly reinstated.
Olbermann made his announcement at the end of his broadcast.
Below is the transcript of Olbermann’s announcement:
“I think the same fantasy popped into the head of everybody in my business who has ever been told what I have been told. This will be the last edition of your show. You go to the scene from the movie ‘Network’ complete with the pajamas and the raincoat and go off on an existential utterly verbal journey of unutterable profundity and vision. You damn the impediments and you insist upon the insurrections and then you emit Peter Finch’s guttural resonant, ‘So.’”
“And then you will the viewer to go to the window, open it, stick out his head and yell, well you know the rest. In the mundane world of television goodbyes, reality is laughably uncooperative. When I resigned from ESPN 13-and-a-half years ago, I was literally given 30 seconds to say goodbye at the very end of my last edition of ‘SportsCenter.’ As God is my witness, in the commercial break before the emotional moment, the producer got into my earpiece and said, ‘Um, can you cut it down to 15 seconds so we can get in the tennis result from Stuttgart?’”
“So, I’m grateful that i have more time to sign off here. Regardless, this is the last edition of ‘Countdown.’ It is just under 8 years since i returned to MSNBC. I was supposed to fill in for the late Jerry Nachman for exactly three days. Forty nine days later, there was a 4-year contract for me to return to this 8:00 p.m. time slot that i fled years earlier. The show established its position as anti-establishment with the stage craft of ‘Mission Accomplished’ to the exaggerated rescue of Jessica Lynch in Iraq to the death of Pat Tillman to Hurricane Katrina to the nexus of politics and terror to the first “Special Comment.”
“The program and grew entirely to your support and great comments if are me and I hope for you too. There were many occasions where all that surrounded the show and never the show itself was too much for me. With your support and loyalty if I may use the word insistence, ultimately required that I keep going. My gratitude to you is boundless and you think I have done good here, imagine how it looked as you donated $2 million to the National Association of Free Clinics and my dying father watched from his hospital bed and transcendentally comforted that his struggles were inspiring such overwhelming good for people. He and I and you would never meet, but would always know. This may be the only television program where in the host was much more in awe of the audience than vice-versa. We will also be in my heart for that and the donations to the family in Tennessee and these victims of governmental heartlessness in Arizona to say nothing of every letter and e-mail and tweet and wave and handshake and online petition. Time ebbs here and I want to close with one more Thurber story. It is still Friday. So, let me thank my gifted staff and a few of the many people who fought with me and for me.”