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EXCLUSIVE: Keith Olbermann Fired By MSNBC Just Before Going On Air, Source Says


Jan. 22 2011, Published 9:00 a.m. ET

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Keith Olbermann was told he'd been canned within hours of going on air Friday for what would be his last MSNBC show, a reliable source tells exclusively.

The eventual cancellation of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, MSNBC's highest-rated show, was not entirely unexpected given the host's recent battles with his cable net's bosses.  He was suspended for several days in November amid revelations he'd made some political contributions without getting network permission first.

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It was the abrupt pulling of the plug that was so shocking to many, and that included Olbermann, our source says.

His four-year, $30 million contract goes to the end of 2012, and with less than a year to go before the next presidential campaign will be in full swing -- a bonus to MSNBC ratings -- it seemed to many that Olbermann would keep going with Countdown for another two years.

Instead, Olbermann looked almost shell shocked as he announced, "This is the last edition of Countdown."

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His lengthy sign-off, which evoked scenes from the iconic movie Network, was as emotional as it was rambling, another indication of how little time he had to prepare his going away speech, the source says.

MSNBC's statement was the exact opposite.  "MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract.  We wish him well," the statement said.

No one expects Olbermann to be off the air longer than he is contractually bound to be.

It's anticipated he'll be back in someone's broadcast booth well before the 2012 elections.  Unless, of course, he decides to run for office himself.

Stay tuned!


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