Keith Olbermann out at Current TV
Published Mar 30 2012, 23:08 BST | By James Welsh Current TV
has "ended" its relationship with Keith Olbermann
, the Al Gore-owned channel announced today.
Olbermann was hired by Current in February 2011
, one month after leaving MSNBC. His contract was understood to be worth $50m over five years.
Named Current's Chief News Officer, Olbermann's signature Countdown
broadcast started airing on the channel in June. The broadcast will now be replaced by Viewpoint
, anchored by former New York governor Eliot Spitzer, starting tonight.
In an "open letter"
to Current's viewers, Gore and co-owner Joel Hyatt said: "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.
"We are moving ahead by honouring Current's values. Current has a fundamental obligation to deliver news programming with a progressive perspective that our viewers can count on being available daily - especially now, during the presidential election campaign. Current exists because our audience desires the kind of perspective, insight and commentary that is not easily found elsewhere in this time of big media consolidation."
In response, Olbermann tweeted
: "I'd like to apologise to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.
"Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I've been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff. Nevertheless, Mr Gore and Mr Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news programme, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract.
"It goes almost without saying that the claims against me implied in Current's statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently."
He added that joining Current "was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one."
Tensions between Olbermann and Current first became publicly known earlier this year, when the anchor declined to present hours of special election coverage after apparently becoming dissatisfied with technical problems on his nightly broadcast.