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Keith Olbermann Fired by Current TV, Replaced by Eliot Spitzer

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Mar 30, 2012 | 1:11pm EDT

Keith OlbermannUPDATE: It's official. This is getting ugly. After being fired, Keith Olbermann claims he's planning to sue former employer Current TV and that he's furious with network boss Al Gore. according to TMZ.com. 

ORIGINAL STORY: Keith Olbermann's career hits yet another rough patch. After acting as Chief News Officer of Current TV since February of 2011, Olbermann has been fired by the network, which is run by former Vice President Al Gore and Joel Hyatt

Olbermann was also the host of Countdown, a program that originated at Olbermann's previous network MSNBC. When Olbermann parted ways with the company in 2011, he brought Countdown to Current TV. The longtime journalist will be replaced by former New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer, who will begin hosting Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer tonight, March 30, at 8 PM ET/PT.

Regarding Olbermann's release, Current TV stated, "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 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 released his own 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 [Olbermann provides this link to a New York Times article]. 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."

On Wednesday, March 28, The Hollywood Reporter stated that Olbermann had a meeting with the Showtime network, but that (according to Olbermann), "It didn't really go anywhere."

Spitzer co-hosted the political talk show In the Arena on CNN from 2010 to 2011, and has made numerous appearances on political programs such as Real Time with Bill Maher. Spitzer has expressed appreciation for this new position: "I am thrilled to have the opportunity to host a show on Current TV that will provide insight into and analysis of the critical issues on the minds of Americans today."

Regarding Spitzer's hire, the network's chairman Al Gore stated, "Eliot Spitzer is a veteran public servant and an astute observer of the issues of the day. He has important opinions and insights. Eliot relishes the kind of constructive discourse that our viewers will appreciate this important election year."

[Politico]
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