Saturday, January 22, 2011

Keith Olbermann out at MSNBC

The morning post-work post was going to be filled with my thoughts on the Cleveland Cavaliers and their 15th loss in a row in a rare game that I was able to watch.
NBA League Pass is on a free preview week and with the Devils being off,this was as good as night as any to watch some hoops at work.

However,during Bill Maher's show,he made the announcement that Keith Olbermann has left MSNBC at the conclusion of last night's Countdown program.
Olbermann has been at odds with MSNBC management since he gave three private contributions to Democratic congressional candidates last fall.,but the release came as quite a surprise,considering Olbermann was only halfway through a four year contract.

Olbermann had been known to be difficult to work with at his various stops having what is known as a "Mercurial " personality,but until the November incident,those rumors had not been heard from MSNBC very often.
Keith Olbermann put MSNBC on the map really and despite his inability to challenge Fox's Bill O'Reilly in the ratings,he was strong enough to drop CNN to third place and pummel their ratings to bits.
Olbermann also had some pull at the network at one time as it was his push that enabled Countdown replacement host Rachel Maddow to have her own show following Olbermann's.

I usually watched Countdown at work on their replay,which on Fridays are never shown overnight due to the network's bizarre infatuation with jailhouse shows such as Lockdown,which I think makes them look less of a "news" network and more of a reality rip off channel.
As a result,I missed the announcement on the show,which was reported to come so quickly that promos for Countdown were being shown during the next two programs.

Keith Olbermann was to the left of my opinions,but I thoroughly enjoyed his show.
Olbermann was unafraid to pop the bubble of others and it was his show that gave left leaning people an alternative to the righthanders such as O'Reilly,Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck at Fox.
Countdown was the type of show that was thought provoking and entertaining,even when you didn't agree with what Olbermann was saying,which is more than I can say about most of the Fox opinion shows.

Keith Olbermann is a smart person and sometimes artists with talent come with a difficult temperament that can make them hard to deal with.
That comes with the territory of dealing with great talent,as can be often seen with artists in sports,music etc,but the bigger loss is to the viewing audience.
The one person that was eloquent and entertaining to the audience demographic that didn't lean to right is now off the airwaves and that is a bigger shot to the political TV junkie than anyone can say.
Olbermann was certainly opinionated and his show definitely slanted to his way of thinking,which brings to mind the one issue that I did have with Countdown was that the show never featured guests that disagreed with Olbermann,which in my opinion,cut down on the honest give and take of both sides that could have occurred on the show.
At the same time,Olbermann's opinions were well thought out and never pandered to the level of ridiculous crackpot thinking as that of Glenn Beck and that fact cannot be denied.
Sometimes passionate people can be regarded as angry and I am sure that some looked at Keith Olbermann as angry.
I never did,I looked at him as a talented,passionate man that filled a void that had been left vacant for years and gave the viewer information,opinion and entertainment-that is pretty damn good for a television show.

What's next for Olbermann?
I would think CNN would be interested in snapping him up as soon as a likely non-compete clause would expire.Lord knows Parker/Spitzer isn't cutting it,but CNN wants to stay away from ideological programming (and they wonder why they are in third place) and may not be interested.
Could there be a return to ESPN?
I doubt it,but never say never.
Most likely for now,there could be a radio show with pal Dan Patrick or perhaps a solo show on the radio.

What's next for MSNBC?
Lawrence O'Donnell's show "The Last Word" moves from 10PM to the Countdown slot and Ed Schultz takes "The Ed Show" from 6 PM to the 10 o'clock hour.
Neither show does much for me and I try to split my watching between all three news networks,so MSNBC takes a huge shot here.

Could the timing being a coincidence with the Comcast/NBC merger finally being approved the day before this move?
I doubt,Olbermann might have been more trouble than Comcast wanted to start their regime with and they decided to cut ties now rather than later.

In any event,a loss to intellectual television occurred last night and the results will be interesting to see.

Photo Credit-MSNBC


Shawn said...

From Cherie:
Wherever you end up, Mr. Olbermann, I will be watching.

Shawn said...

I agree wholeheartedly,Perhaps Keith can hook up with HBO for a show that alternates with Bill Maher during Maher's off time and gives HBO watchers a show every week of quality political programming.
Or maybe a Maher alternative on Showtime and as a result some programming shuffling here to afford a Showtime addition.....