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Olbermann off tv for 6-9 months, can’t discuss departure from MSNBC: report

By Sahil Kapur
Monday, January 24, 2011 9:19 EDT
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Don’t expect Keith Olbermann to be on television anytime soon, or spill any dirt about his abrupt departure from MSNBC.

As part of an exit deal he struck with MSNBC, the former star of the channel’s evening lineup is prohibited from appearing on television for six to nine months and can’t discuss his departure, according to the New York Times.

Olbermann announced his immediate departure from MSNBC at the end of his Friday evening show, shortly after which the organization released a statement confirming that the two have “ended their contract.”

An NBC executive told the Times that he was allowed to work on the Internet and radio.

The news of Olbermann’s exit came with little warning and sent shock waves on the Internet. Though he had a rocky relationship with MSNBC executives in recent months, his “Countdown” show had for years been the channel’s top rated.

And Olbermann’s success set the tone for MSNBC’s hiring of provocative left-leaning commentators towards the end of the Bush administration, a period where the channel’s ratings surged past rival CNN — although it remained distantly behind Fox News.

Olbermann has not spoken to the press or posted on his frequently-used Twitter account since his announcement Friday. His promised silence would be unwelcome news for media reporters thirsty for the inside story behind the development.

Olbermann’s exit was propelled in part by the departure of former NBC president and CEO Jeff Zucker, who had regularly defended the controversial anchor, according to the Times and other media reports.

“Keith is an innovator and an extremely talented broadcaster who showed there was a market for progressive views on cable news,” said Media Matters founder and CEO David Brock. “I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of him soon and I eagerly await to hear of his next move.”

 
 
 
 
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