Comcast: We Didn't Force Out Olbermann

Cable giant's pending takeover of NBC sets off speculation
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2011 9:18 AM CST
FILE - In this July 22, 2006 file photo, Keith Olbermann, host of the MSNBC show, "Countdown With Keith Olbermann," talks about his show at the Summer Television Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena,...   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, file)
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(Newser) – Neither side is talking about Keith Olbermann's surprise departure from MSNBC, but the gist from a slew of reports (based on anonymous insiders) is that the host's long-strained relations with management simply never recovered from his suspension over political donations. (See Politico and the Wall Street Journal for more.) Quiet talks were reportedly under way for weeks to end his contract early. The move comes on the eve of Comcast's takeover of NBC, and while many Olbermann fans think the cable giant forced him out, Mediaite and the Los Angeles Times don't think the company had a say in the move. Comcast honchos are no doubt thrilled, however, notes the LAT.

  • Official Comcast response: "We pledged from the day the deal was announced that we would not interfere with NBC Universal's news operations. We have not and we will not."
  • Show shuffle: Lawrence O'Donnell to 8pm, Ed Schultz to 10, and Cenk Uygur (of the web's Young Turks show) gets a show at 6. Rachel Maddow remains at 9.
  • Surprise, surprise: It had happened so abruptly, MSNBC was still running promos for his show after Olbermann's signoff.

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