Current TV Ousts Talk Show Host Keith Olbermann
Current TV has dismissed Keith Olbermann from its talk-show lineup after less than a year.
The network announced late Friday afternoon that “Countdown,” the show Olbermann has hosted on Current since last June, would be replaced with a show hosted by former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, beginning Friday night.
“Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer” will air weeknights at 8 PM Eastern time. Spitzer briefly had a talk show on CNN.
The sometimes volatile Olbermann came to Current last year as the centerpiece of a new prime-time initiative after a stormy eight-year stint at MSNBC, followed by his abrupt departure in January 2011.
Shortly after, Current announced his hiring, as the start of an effort to transform the network’s prime-time slate into left-leaning talk.
Olbermann’s official title was that of chief news officer, charged with providing editorial guidance for all of the network’s political news, commentary and current events programming.
In a statement, Current TV founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt said the network was “founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately, these values areno longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.”
They offered no details, but it is known that the temperamental Olbermann had clashed with his bosses. In January, he chose not to host additional hours of election coverage, and he had complained about technical problems he said undermined his show.
“We are confident that our viewers will be able to count on Gov. Spitzer to deliver critical information on a daily basis,” Gore and Hyatt added in their statement.
In a statement posted online, Olbermann said, “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.”
He said he had been attempting “for more than a year” to resolve his differences with Gore and Hyatt internally, “while I’ve not been publicizing my complaints.” Instead of “investing in a quality news program,” he said, his bosses “thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract.”
He called his decision to come to Current “a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one.”
Since “Countdown” premiered, Current has fleshed out its prime-time lineup with “The Young Turks,” hosted by Cenk Uygur, and “The War Room” with former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
This week, it introduced a six-hour morning talk block, with live simulcasts of the radio programs “The Bill Press Show” and “The Stephanie Miller Show.”
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