Keith Olbermann on FOK News: ‘It’s Not Going to Get Any Bigger Than It Is Now’

Former MSNBC host and scourge of managers adjusts to his new life as a manager with Current TV

Last Updated: March 3, 2011 @ 1:00 PM

Keith Olbermann says he has no aspirations for his FOK News Channel website to expand into a news site along the lines of the Drudge Report or Huffington Post.

“How could it ever be more than it is now?” he joked Thursday at a paidContent conference in New York, before adding: “It’s not going to get any bigger than it is now. God forbid that I’m ever going to expand it to anything and sell it to anybody."

He added, "Did anybody catch that last reference?”

Also read: Keith Olbermann Slams Murdoch With 'Fok' Website Mocking News Channel

The site, which he says he and his manager devised in a matter of minutes, consists mostly of postings from Olbermann. He said he plans to add more video as well. But that's it. The rest of his energies are devoted to his new job as chief news officer of Current TV.

Olbermann has praised his new freedom at Current, and said he knew he was in the right place when he tried to show co-founder Al Gore some planned remarks for a presentation to reporters and advertisers — and was told he didn't need to.

Also read: Al Gore: What Keith Olbermann Will Do for Current TV

"He looked at me and said, 'Are you crazy? We hired you,'" Olbermann said. "'We know what we're going to get from you. We don’t need to see it in advance.' I almost dropped to my knees."

The former "Countdown" host has obviously felt less free in the past. He left MSNBC in January after a ratings-boosting run marred by clashes with management, including over contributions to Democratic candidates during the 2010 elections.

Olbermann said he's adjusting to life as a manager at Current, and that talk of his past fights with his employers was overblown. Olbermann said he's had nine full-time employers — including Fox and MSNBC, which he abruptly left in January — and that six of them have wanted him back.

"Despite that reputation, six out of that nine have either later brought me back or sought to," he said. He joked that he regrets about half of his past management clashes.

Another change: Joel Hyatt, Current's executive vice chairman, said Olbermann had made his own travel arrangements for the first time in nine years to get to the event. But the new job also offers him unprecedented freedom, Hyatt said.

"He can say whatever he wants, and in return he makes his own travel arrangements," Hyatt said.

Olbermann is now helping build up Current's staff, he said, and looking ahead to launching a new primetime show in spring.

Asked how that show would cover a story like Charlie Sheen — or whether it would touch it at all — Olbermann said he wouldn't rule it out. (And noted that he's bought baseball memorabilia from Sheen in the past.)

"I'd love to sit and be high and mighty… and say no, never, not in a million years … but we did it on MSNBC," he said. "When people are sitting there flipping and going through channels and they see Charlie Sheen with two scantily dressed women in video, they'll watch," he said.

"Now if you could convince people that that had something to do with unions versus the state of Wisconsin, if you could throw that over for discussion, maybe with some palm trees in the background … you could have that compelling interest for the flipping viewer while still serving some news purpose."

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