Just off Twitter from New York Times media correspondent Brian Stelter:
I’m told that Current TV has terminated its relationship with Keith Olbermann.
Stelter shortly afterward added:
Olbermann will be replaced by “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer,” according to Current TV.
Call it a lateral move. As I wrote in January, “When you stare into the TV ratings abyss, the abyss doesn’t stare back at you — because it’s already changed the channel.” After running the cable TV gauntlet from ESPN to Fox Sports to MSNBC to Current, where does Keith go next?
To the Viewers of Current:
We created Current to give voice to those Americans who refuse to rely on corporate-controlled media and are seeking an authentic progressive outlet. We are more committed to those goals today than ever before.
Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.
As opposed to Client #9?
Update: Jim Treacher’s awesome lede at the Daily Caller: “You’ve heard of a Friday afternoon document dump. How about a Friday afternoon douche dump?” Meanwhile, Stelter’s article at the Times is now up:
This will be Mr. Spitzer’s second shot at an 8 p.m. talk show; in 2010, two years after he resigned the governorship after admitting to his involvement in a prostitution ring, he led a short-lived show on CNN. It was cancelled in mid-2011.
“We are confident that our viewers will be able to count on Governor Spitzer to deliver critical information on a daily basis,” Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt wrote in the letter to viewers.
With those words — “on a daily basis” — the founders of Current hinted at one of the reasons for Mr. Olbermann’s termination. It was the culmination, at least in part, of months of infighting between the famously temperamental Mr. Olbermann and his bosses at Current, including Mr. Hyatt, and David Bohrman, the channel’s president.
Whatever Spitzer’s peccadillos and odious worldview, it’s entirely possible that he’s much easier for the on-air crew and producers to work with “on a daily basis” than Olbermann. And let’s face it: he couldn’t be any worse, as even Olbermann’s fellow lefties at Talking Points Memo note:
The source added that Olbermann failed to show up for work without authorization, missing almost half of his working days in the months of January and February. Olbermann asked for a vacation day on March 5, the night before Super Tuesday, according to the source. He was told it would be a breach if he took the vacation, which Olbermann did.
Olbermann’s relationship with Current started to fray back in January, when Olbermann declined to lead the network’s special election coverage of the Iowa caucuses. Olbermann insisted at the time that he wasn’t given a legitimate opportunity to host the coverage. Eventually, both parties came to an agreement, and Olbermann was set to anchor the network’s special election after the New Hampshire primary. Still, it didn’t make for great headlines less than a year after Olbermann landed at Current.
“At the end of the day, Current made a decision, based on a strong legal foundation, that goes beyond merely business considerations – this decision was made because Olbermann was in breach of his contract and his conduct was simply not consistent with either mission of or the values of the company,” the source said.
Ace has broken out the dancing Ewok in a case of Schadenfreude Night Fever.
Speaking of which, who’s up for an Olbermann versus Al Gore (and trial lawyer Joel Hyatt) food fight? “In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out.”
Pass the popcorn.
(Cross-posted at the Tatler.)