Monday, January 24, 2011
AS SEEN ON:
'Saturday Night Live'
AS PLAYED BY:
From CBS News & 'CBS Sunday Morning'
(CBS/AP) NEW YORK - MSNBC host Keith Olbermann announced Friday that he is leaving the network and has taped his last "Countdown" show. MSNBC issued a statement that it had ended its contract with the controversial host, with no further explanation. Olbermann hosted the network's top-rated show, but his combative liberal opinions often made him a target of critics.
Olbermann did not explain why he was leaving.
"There were many occasions, particularly in the last two and a half years, where all that surrounded the show - but never the show itself - was just too much for me," he told viewers.
"MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC's success and we wish him well in his future endeavors," the network said.
A spokesman said Phil Griffin, MSNBC's president, would not comment on Olbermann's exit. Spokesman Jeremy Gaines would say only that the acquisition of NBC Universal by Comcast, which received regulatory approval this week, had nothing to do with the decision.
Olbermann, before leaving the show with a final signature toss of his script toward the camera, thanked his audience for sticking with him and read a James Thurber poem.
The host reminisced about his brief goodbye at ESPN's "Sports Center" that was cut short to accomodate a result from a tennis match and his time at MSNBC, thanking his fans, highlighting the $2 million in donations they sent to National Association of Free Clinics in honor of his dying father.
"This may be the only television where in the host was much more in awe of the audience than vice versa," said Olbermann during his sign-off. "You will always be in my heart for that, and for the donations to the Kranich family in Tennessee and these victims of governmental heartlessness in Arizona..."
More from CBS on the story: