From Sunday’s Playbook:
Network sources tell Playbook that Keith Olbermann was suspended because he refused to deliver an on-camera mea culpa, which would have allowed him to continue anchoring “Countdown.” Olbermann told his bosses he didn’t know he was barred from making campaign contributions, although he is resisting saying that publicly. Olbermann may not hold as many cards as he thinks. He makes $7 million a year and MSNBC’s prime time is not as dependent on him as it was before the addition of Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell, who make considerably less.
“Countdown” may be MSNBC’s #1 show, but on many nights, Maddow tops Olbermann in the ratings, especially in the ad-friendly A25-54 demo. In October, Maddow was up double digits in both Total Viewers and younger viewers compared to last October. And in its first month on the air, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” improved the MSNBC timeslot +30% in Total Viewers and +10% in younger viewers compared to Oct. ’09 when a re-air of “Countdown” was in the timeslot. One more ratings note: last month, Olbermann averaged 271,000 A25-54 viewers, down from an average of 294,000 in October 2009. Olbermann was up, year-over-year, in Total Viewers (1,074,000 in Oct. ’10 v. 1,015,000 in ’09).