Current TV announced today that it was terminating Keith Olbermann’s contract. Former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer will take over Olerbmann’s 8 p.m. time slot with a show called “Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer.”
Current TV founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, wrote in a statement:
“We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet. We are more committed to those goals today than ever before. 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 sent off a series of Tweets saying that Gore and Hyatt had no right to end his contract. Olbermann, who has now released an official statement, said that he would be taking legal action against Current TV.
“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.”
The New York Times reports that when Gore and Hyatt announced Spitzer as Olbermann’s replacement, they said that they were “confident that our viewers will be able to count on Governor Spitzer to deliver critical information on a daily basis.” The words “daily basis” likely point to the reason why Olbermann was fired.
Olbermann declined to host extra hours of election coverage in February and has missed several shows due to “throat problems.” Current TV believes that these “unauthorized absences” were a breach of contract.