Just a year after he was hired, the network let him go reportedly because he failed to honor the terms of his five-year contract. The Times also reports that his termination comes a few months after disagreements between Olbermann, David Bohrman and Joel Hyatt, the network's president and chief executive, respectively.
In a letter to Current viewers Friday, the network said: "We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet. 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. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it."
Olbermann delivered his response Twitter later in the afternoon: "I'd like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV," he wrote. "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," he continued. "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."
Effective immediately, former New York governor Eliot Spitzer will replace Olbermann in a new program called Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer.
Olbermann exited MSNBC last January in the middle of a four-year, $30 million contract; he signed with Current TV a month later. His had a stormy tenure at MSNBC that included a suspension over campaign contributions he made — but he helped drive viewership up while he was there.