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Current TV Fires Keith Olbermann, Replaces Him With Eliot Spitzer

It was just over a year ago that former MSNBC host Keith Olbermann announced he was joining Current TV, and today, that relationship officially came to an end. According to the New York TimesBrian Stelter, Olbermann is out at Current, and will be replaced by former CNN host and New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer will take over the 8 PM slot starting  tonight.

Update: Current CEO Joel Hyatt and co-founder Al Gore released a statement about the move.

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.

The full letter is after the jump.

Update 2: Olbermann has released his own statement via Twitter, saying that he plans to file suit against the network.

I’d like to apologize 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 @AlGore and @JoelHyatt 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 program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract. It goes almost without saying that the claims against me in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently.

Olbermann’s full statement is after the jump.

Olbermann famously announced that he would be leaving his MSNBC program on a Friday night last January. He inked a deal with Current soon thereafter.

Olbermann was given an equity stake in Current as part of his deal. It is not yet clear whether he will retain that stake, or whether Current will buy him out.

In an interview with mediabistro.com earlier this month, Hyatt hinted that the network would be adding more former public officials to Current’s lineup, such as Spitzer:

We’re going to look for practitioners of public policy, like Jennifer Granholm. We’ll soon be naming others in that category, people who have actually done the hard work of public service and who are very committed to it, who understand it from the inside. They know spin when they hear it; they know BS when they hear it; they can stand up to it because they’ve been there and done that.

The announcement of Spitzer’s new show is also after the jump.

To the Viewers of Current:

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 honoring 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.

As we move toward this summer’s political conventions and the general election in the fall, Current is making significant new additions to our broadcasts. We have just debuted six hours of new programming each weekday with Bill Press (“Full Court Press” at 6 am ET/3 am PT) and Stephanie Miller (“Talking Liberally” at 9 am ET/6 pm PT).

We’re very excited to announce that beginning tonight, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer will host “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer,” at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. Eliot is a veteran public servant and an astute observer of the issues of the day. He has important opinions and insights and he relishes the kind of constructive discourse that our viewers will appreciate this election year. We are confident that our viewers will be able to count on Gov. Spitzer to deliver critical information on a daily basis.

All of these additions to Current’s lineup are aimed at achieving one simple goal — the goal that has always been central to Current’s mission: To tell stories no one else will tell, to speak truth to power, and to influence the conversation of democracy on behalf of those whose voices are too seldom heard. We, and everyone at Current, want to thank our viewers for their continued steadfast support.

Sincerely,

Al Gore & Joel Hyatt
Current’s Founders

Olbermann Statement:

I’d like to apologize 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 @AlGore and @JoelHyatt 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 program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract. It goes almost without saying that the claims against me in Current’s statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently. To understand Mr. Hyatt’s “values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty,” I encourage you to read of a previous occasion Mr. Hyatt found himself in court for having unjustly fired an employee. That employee’s name was Clarence B. Cain: nyti.ms/HueZsa In due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out. For now, it is important only to again acknowledge that joining them was a sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one. That lack of judgment is mine and mine alone, and I apologize again for it.

Spitzer announcement:

‘VIEWPOINT WITH ELIOT SPITZER’ TO OCCUPY THE EIGHT O’CLOCK HOUR BEGINNING TONIGHT ON CURRENT TV

New York, NY – March 30, 2012 – Current TV’s “Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer” launches tonight at 8p ET.  Former Governor Spitzer will offer up his opinion of the day’s news and then invite guests to discuss, analyze and debate.

“Eliot Spitzer is a veteran public servant and an astute observer of the issues of the day,” commented Current TV Chairman and former Vice President Al Gore.  “He has important opinions and insights.  Eliot relishes the kind of constructive discourse that our viewers will appreciate this important election year.”

Previously, Spitzer was the host of CNN’s “In The Arena” and has expressed his views on numerous national television shows and in his column in Slate.com.  The renowned prosecutor and former Attorney General and Governor of the State of New York, is frequently referred to as the “Sheriff of Wall Street,” having prosecuted abuses among major Wall Street firms as well as numerous other industries.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to host a show on Current TV that will provide insight into and analysis of the critical issues on the minds of Americans today,” said Eliot Spitzer.

“Viewpoint” will be bookended by a nightly roster of progressive news analysis and political commentary beginning at 7pm ET/PT with “The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur,” to be followed at 9pm ET/PT by “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm” on the Peabody-and Emmy Award-winning television network.

For more information, exclusive videos, blog posts and conversations with the Viewpoint team, fans can go to www.current.com.  Join the conversation on Facebook or Google+, and follow Spitzer on Twitter (@ESpitzer).

 

 

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