Hollywood Reporter profile packed with news, Keith Olbermann opens up about his exit from MSNBC, pushing back against the narrative that’s been floated in recent weeks that his rant on the evening of the Tucson shooting ended his tenure at the cable network, according to a posting by Keach Hagey at politico.com.
“Frankly, I knew before Gabby Giffords got shot, several weeks beforehand, that the NBC experience was coming to a close,” Olbermann told Marisa Guthrie. “I think the smart ones [colleagues] suspected something was up, because every night I was leaving with various objects from my office.”
But the deal to get out of his contract wasn’t sealed until the 8:30 commercial break, so his staff didn’t find out for sure until he announced it on the air.
His suspension for campaign donations also played a role, though he was less forthcoming about that.
“It seemed like this huge thing externally,” he said. “Internally, it was like, ‘OK, put that on the list.’”
A source told the Hollywood Reporter that it was simply the last straw. “At that point, I think they [MSNBC management] were looking for the straw that would break the camel’s back,” the source said. “I don’t know what’s less than a straw, a thread, an eyelash? He apologized. He took a suspension. It wasn’t a big amount of money. It wasn’t a big newsmaker that he made the donation to. It was a fairly minor infraction. But I think they were looking for some reason to end the relationship.”
MSNBC declined to comment, though the Reporter notes that neither side would confirm the reported existence of a non-disparagement pact.
Now Olbermann is about to launch a new version of “Countdown” on Current TV that competes directly with his old slot at 8 p.m.