Olbermann’s Ouster Isn’t Shocking, Just Disappointing

Don’t feel sorry for Olbermann; feel bad for the millions of viewers who feel shafted by yet another corporate Goliath

Last Updated: January 23, 2011 @ 4:12 PM

Even Rachel Maddow seemed stunned by Olbermann’s shocking announcement Friday that he was departing MSNBC, this time for good.

Maybe we shouldn’t have been that shocked.

After all, his tempestuous relationship with the media giant (now helmed by Comcast) had long been fodder for Monday morning quarterbacking and political punditry on both sides of the aisle.

Suspended in November for making political contributions (some going to Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords), chastised for his public spanking of public figures and maybe even chewed out for reading James Thurber stories to the audience, the top brass at the network apparently had enough and weren’t going to take it anymore.

And so Friday night viewers of "Countdown" were left with an empty feeling when the host declared that night his last. Fired? Quit? Mutual decision? We may never know the details, unless he drops the bomb on a future show.

But his colleagues were throwing around some possible reasons soon after he closed Friday night’s Countdown.

That same night on HBO Bill Maher hosted a show that included Rachel Maddow, Olbermann’s longtime friend and colleague.

Maher, as expected, didn’t mince words when Maddow reported the severing of ties had been a “mutual decision.”

Maher retorted, “That’s always bullshit.”  Maybe he was tossed after too many “Worst Person of the World” segments, even after Olbermann took it off his show, and then reinstated it.


Maybe the firing of Olbermann’s longtime colleague Jeff Zucker influenced the timing, but why would the highest ranking anchor willingly leave the roost? 

If he quit maybe it was because he had grown weary of being taken to the woodshed.

Perhaps he resented having to purge “The Worst Person of the World” segment, which was then resurrected in a kinder, gentler format.

Maybe the brass didn’t like having stories by Thurber read to them. But Maher had strong words for the network: “Stop organizing life around the people who don’t get the joke. F…them.”

So get ready to learn a lot about another rising political pundit you’ve probably never heard of, yet.

Meet Cenk Uyger, a Turkish-American Podcaster and Huffington Post contributor — who also co-founded a liberal talk show and website called The Young Turks — will be filling in as co-host on MSNBC.

Monday quarterbacks are already predicting Uyger will bring even more viewers to Countdown’s coffers.

Check out his website and podcast and you’ll probably agree.

But don’t feel sorry for Olbermann, who was two years into a four-year $30 million contract when he and MSNBC “mutually decided” to part ways.

Feel sorry for the millions of viewers who feel shafted by yet another corporate Goliath. Could David be lurking behind the peacock? Stay tuned.

Naomi Serviss has covered Broadway, celebrities, lavish resorts and high-end spas. Based in New York City, she's still hooked on Hollywood.