Keith Olbermann Dishes About MSNBC Feud

And reveals who he's hired away from his former network
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2011 10:15 AM CDT
Keith Olbermann speaks during the NBC Universal portion of the Television Critics Association Press Tour in this file photo.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Keith Olbermann isn’t talking to Rachel Maddow, he’s pulling down a fortune at Current TV, and he’s plucked suspended MSNBC anchor David Shuster to be his fill-in host there. Those are just some of the revelations in a characteristically candid interview Olbermann gave the Hollywood Reporter. Some highlights:

  • On competing with his old MSNBC time slot: “I don’t think my former employers thought this was going to turn out quite this way. … and my understanding is this has left a certain tension over there.”
  • On Tim Russert: Olbermann says Russert was one of his only allies at the network. “Tim knew how to play them. … Tim, for the noblest of causes, could bullshit very well.”
  • On losing his Sunday Night Football job: He says he was sacked because he was caught speculating (accurately) that Jeff Zucker would be ousted in the NBC/Comcast merger. “I was a convenient punching bag and everybody would believe anything they said about me.”
  • The payday: The Reporter says Olbermann's new job pays $10 million a year, a step up from his $7 million MSNBC salary. Current TV disputes the figure, but didn't offer its own.
  • On Current TV: Olbermann says he’s not worried about going to a smaller network. “I’m better off at some sort of independent place where they not only like what I produce but also trust me to be the one to produce it.”
  • On Maddow: “There were lots of people who were forced to choose sides. And particularly in Rachel’s case, I didn’t want to add to the pressure on her already. The last thing I need to do is be calling her up and saying, ‘How’s that Michael Steele working out for you?’”

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