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article image'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' program on MSNBC ends abruptly

By Kay Mathews     Jan 22, 2011 in Entertainment
In what came as a surprise to viewers, Keith Olbermann ended Friday's show by announcing that it was the end of the "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" show.
Olbermann indicated that MSNBC ended his contract, but neither he nor MSNBC "publicly cited a reason for his abrupt departure," reports The Washington Post.
For almost eight years, Olbermann hosted "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" and the show regularly attracted "more than 1 million viewers, making it the network's most popular."
As Howard Kurtz wrote in The Daily Beast, Olbermann "almost single-handedly revived the network by leading it on a leftward march and aggressively attacking the rival operation he called Fox Noise."
Two years ago MSNBC re-signed Olbermann to a four-year contract but recent events suggest that there was tension between the host and network executives.
As Kurtz noted, and as was reported on, in November Olbermann was "suspended for making political contributions to Democratic candidates" including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) who was recently shot in Tucson.
When signing-off, Olbermann did not mention any future career plans. He did, however, thank his viewers, staff, and a list of friends and colleagues including Rachel Maddow and the late Tim Russert.
Olbermann told his viewers “My gratitude to you is boundless.” Kurtz points out that Olbermann's thanks "notably excluding MSNBC President Phil Griffin, whom he has known for three decades."
According to The Wall Street Journal, MSNBC issued the following brief statement as Olbermann's program was concluding: "MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC's success and we wish him well in his future endeavors."
"The network said its 10 p.m. host Lawrence O'Donnell would move into Mr. Olbermann's 8 p.m. slot beginning on Monday," reports The Wall Street Journal. "Ed Schultz, who has hosted a 6 p.m. show on MSNBC since 2009, will take over Mr. O'Donnell's 10 p.m. time slot."
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