Olbermann out at Current TV, threatens legal action

Jeff Poor Media Reporter
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Keith Olbermann has been dismissed from Al Gore’s Current TV.

New York Times media reporter Brian Stelter broke the news Friday afternoon. Current TV was co-founded by Gore in 2005.  Olbermann started at the network last year, after nearly 8 years at MSNBC.

“We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet,” Current TV said in a statement. “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,” continued the statement. “Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.”

Starting Friday evening, former CNN host and New York Democratic Gov. Eliot Spitzer will fill Olbermann’s former time slot with a program called “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.” Spitzer resigned his office in 2008 after a prostitution scandal.

UPDATE — Olbermann issues statement via Twitter:

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. http://nyti.ms/HueZsa

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.

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