Sunday, January 23, 2011
Ah, Keith... why now? Why not four years ago?
MSNBC's resident spittle flecked madman has finally left the building.He made a terse statement on his Friday show announcing that it would be his last one, and that was pretty much that.An NBC Universal executive who spoke off record characterized it as a mutual parting of the ways, with Olbermann taking the first step.
What happened according to my sources is the new merger between NBC and ComCast provided a perfect opportunity to do a little housecleaning...and apparently when Keithie asked for a raise on his $7 million per year contract, it provided a good excuse.
Comcast needs to bring up MessNBC's profitability somehow, and one way to do it is cutting costs. They probably saw no reason to pay megabucks to a host that delivered less than half the audience of his cable news competitor, Bill O'Reilly
Olbermouth had already been eliminated from his other NBC gig, on Sunday night football, his MessNBC ratings weren't going to go anywhere and could probably be replicated by fellow Left wing crazy Lawrence O'Donnell, who inherits Olbermouth's 8PM time slot.
Another factor in this was undoubtedly Olbermann's off-air personality. By all accounts he is one of the most unpleasant and difficult people to deal with imaginable, and has burned a number of bridges during his career.
Olbermouth's first major gigs were a three-year stint at CNN, and a few months as sports anchor at Boston's WCVB-TV, both of which he was fired from after antagonizing the management and his fellow on-air personalities.
His next landing was at at ESPN, becoming part of the SportsCenter team. But Olbermann's tenure there was, um, legendary. He made enemies out of a number of ESPN executives and actually subjected on-air colleagues to harangues and criticism to the point where he 'resigned'. When ESPN celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2004, Olbermann was pointedly not invited to the reunion of current and former hosts.And he was personally fired from his next gig at Fox Sports by Rupert Murdoch in 2001.
Now it appears he's repeated the process at MessNBC.
But there might be some behind the scenes dealing going on, and much of it concerns whether Olbermouth quit, was fired, or whether it was mutual.
If NBC bought out his contract, there's typically a 'no compete ' clause that keeps an on-air personality off the air for a given amount of time. On the other hand, if NBC fired Olbermann that clause is typically inoperable.
One of the few places left Keith Olbermann might be able to land a gig is at CNN whose prime-time ratings are beyond awful. Their 8PM slot is filled(if that's the right word) by Parker/Spitzer, whose audience by this point hardly extends beyond their immediate family. The word is that CNN is already looking for a replacement, and even Olbermouth's numbers would be an improvement.
It could very well be that Olbermouth's agent was approached by CNN, and then went to MessNBC asking for more moolah, figuring that if he was turned down he and MessNBC could then negotiate a buyout at a figure that would preclude the 'no compete ' clause becoming operable.
We'll see if that's what happened if Keefie ends up screaming at the cameras from behind a CNN logo in the near future. Meanwhile, here's some of Olbermouth's gratest hits for you...