Sunday, January 23, 2011

Comcast takes over NBC, Keith Olbermann gone

That sucks. I became addicted to Countdown in 2006, during the height of the war in Iraq. Olbermann's coverage of Iraq was nonstop and although I sometimes disagreed with him (The Surge), he seemed to care a great deal about Iraqis. His coverage of Blackwater's wrongdoings in Iraq was the best in US media. I wonder how much longer Bush would have waited before sending the FBI to Iraq if hadn't been for Keith Olbermann's criticism.

I think this is the first time I link to TMZ:

"Sources connected with the network tell us ... Comcast honchos did not like Keith's defiance and the way he played in the sandbox.

Our sources say Keith has around two years left on his contract, and he'll be paid his salary -- around $7 million a year.

We don't know if Comcast will let Keith make a deal with another network as part of an exit agreement, but it's a good bet he'll be benched for a minimum of 6 months, and probably longer."

The Washington Post says the end of Olbermann's contract with MSNBC was a long time in the making:

"We're in great shape," Griffin said. ". . . I don't think we'll lose a beat." ...But in his final show Friday, Olbermann indicated that tensions with his employer had been building for a long time. "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 said.

His sudden exit prompted widespread suspicion of interference by Comcast Corp., which is expected to complete its purchase of MSNBC's parent, NBC Universal, this week. Comcast denied any role in a statement Saturday, and an MSNBC spokesman also said there was no link to the acquisition, which received regulatory approval Tuesday.'

The Huffington Post says MSNBC will replace Keith's time slot with The Last Word, also a great show.

Whatever the reason for his departure, Olbermann leaves a strained and tense environment behind him, and MSNBC moved quickly to fill the hole in its schedule. Within minutes of the announcement, the network unveiled its restructured evening lineup. Lawrence O'Donnell, host of "The Last Word," will move to 8 P.M., while "The Ed Show" with Ed Schultz will air at 10 P.M. Rachel Maddow's program will remain in its 9 P.M. slot.

I watched Lawrence O'Donnel almost everyday when I had cable. Sadly, his show is not available online. I'll continue watching Rachel Maddow and the Ed Show online, but I'm reluctant to get cable, especially after learning that Comcast is in bed with the Republican Party. In MSNBC's The Week in Political Cartoons, cartoon #17 is even more poignant after Olbermann's departure.

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