Keith Olbermann's Exit Deal: $7M, No TV for Months

And his next project might just involve Aaron Sorkin
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 24, 2011 7:56 AM CST
This frame grab from MSNBC video, shows Keith Olbermann on "Countdown" on Jan. 21, 2011.   (AP Photo/MSNBC)

(Newser) – Details of Keith Olbermann’s abrupt exit from MSNBC—as well as what’s in store for him now—are trickling out. The latest:

  • Olbermann’s exit package was “well in excess” of $7 million, sources tell TMZ. The deal includes a clause that benches Olbermann for a while—at least when it comes to television—but sources claim he’ll only have to sit out for four-and-a-half months or less.
  • The New York Times has a different estimate, citing executives involved in the deal: Olbermann must stay off TV for six to nine months, and can’t talk about his departure, although he can work on the Internet or in radio.
  • His exit comes after years of behind-the-scenes conflict at MSNBC, the Times reports, noting that Jeff Zucker was one step away from firing him during his campaign contributions brouhaha in November.

  • The usually prolific Olbermann has tweeted only once since his departure, and the message—apparently since removed—read “WATCHTHISSPACE Baseball Nerd blog returns 2/14.” Of course, that sparked all sorts of speculation that Olbermann may return to his sports roots. But Olbermann has often promoted his Baseball Nerd blog, Mediaite notes, so the message could mean … nothing.
  • Next up for Olbermann: Writing for TV with Aaron Sorkin? A source tells Entertainment Weekly Sorkin has a pilot script about a cable news show in the works—he even shadowed Olbermann while writing it—and he might tap Olbermann to contribute rants.
Click for more on what may have been behind Olbermann’s departure.

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