Keith Olbermann, host of MSNBC’s Countdown announced toward the end of this evening’s broadcast that this would be his final show. Thanking his audience of the past eight-plus years, Olbermann gave no reasons but introduced his farewell with references to the film Network and the famous scene in which the newsman-protagonist stands at an open window shouting “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonna take it anymore.”
The network issued this simple statement with very little explanation about why: “MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of Countdown with Keith Olbermann will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavors.” Olbermann still had two years remaining on his contract.
Over the years, Olbermann has become the often-controversial voice of Liberal America on his nightly show. Featuring occasional “Special Comments,” Olbermann often articulated progressives’ frustration with the Right, the Tea Party, with President George W. Bush, and even with President Barack Obama. Countdown also took aim at his counterparts in the Conservative media. Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck have been frequent targets on the show’s “Worst Person in the World” segments.
At this point no specific reasons have been given for the seemingly sudden and completely unexpected end to Olbermann’s show. The news has sent Twitter into a frenzy, with most expressing complete shock. Interestingly, and perhaps speaking volumes about the suddenness of this move, MSNBC continues this evening to air promos featuring Olbermann and his show.