Unless you’re just waking up after a sixteen-hour nap, you’ve probably heard about Keith Olbermann’s very abrupt departure from popular MSNBC property Countdown at the end of last night’s show.
Olbermann was halfway into a four-year contract, and at an unusual time to break ties with the network- save for the Comcast takeover set to go down in about a week. Both Olbermann and MSNBC have been quiet as to whether the left-leaning anchor was asked to leave or initiated the breakup, but one party has spoken out as to what didn’t cause the split. Late on Friday night, Comcast released a statement regarding Olbermann’s announcement surprise Countdown exit just before the last commercial break:
“Comcast has not closed the transaction for NBC Universal and has no operational control at any of its properties including MSNBC. 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.”
Olbermann hasn’t breathed a tweet on Twitter regarding the break, and speculation as to whether he was fired or wanted to leave ahead of Comcast’s takeover is pretty rife right now. Olbermann’s own words on the show last night seem to indicate the former, however:
“I think the same fantasy popped into the head of everybody in my business who has ever been told what I have been told: this will be the last edition of your show. You go to the scene from the movie ‘Network,’ complete with the pajamas and the raincoat, and go off on a verbal journey of unutterable vision and you insist upon Peter Finch’s gutteral resonance and you will the viewer to go to the window, open it, stick out his head and yell. You know the rest. In the mundane world of television goodbyes, reality is laughably uncooperative.”
It has also been floated that Olbermann will be barred from appearing on TV for a certain period, a la Conan after his flaming departure from The Tonight Show, but that we should expect to see Olbermann active on the internet.