Current TV fires Keith Olbermann
"The biggest jerk on television." That will be Keith Olbermann's epithet. Today, he is jobless and it's hard to see how any rational TV executive will touch him with a ten foot poll.
Current TV has fired Keith Olbermann, citing a lack of "respect" and "collegiality" in its relationship with him, following months of open warfare between Olbermann and Current executives in the press.
He will be replaced by Eliot Spitzer, the former New York governor who had been a frequent guest on "Countdown" since its earliest days on Current - and whose own show on CNN was canceled last year.
The move comes just over a year after Current hired Olbermann amid great fanfare, announcing its plans to build its new identity as a more progressive alternative to MSNBC around him. But it also comes little more than a year after Olbermann abruptly left MSNBC, announcing his departure during his final show in only the latest in the string of stormy departures that have marked his career.
"Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers," write Current founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt in an open memo to viewers. "Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it."
A source familiar with the situation says Olbermann was fired for breach of contract, including a failure to show up for work, sabotaging the network and attacking Current and its executives.
In January and February, for example, he missed 19 out of 41 working days, including the nights of the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary, according to the source. He also rankled executives by asking for a vacation day on March 5th, the eve of Super Tuesday.
Olbermann the hysteric, Olbermann, the angry leftist, Olbermann, the sneering, snarling, spitting bane of the right. And, of course, Olbermann the diva.
Perhaps that last descriptive will also be his epithet.