(NEW YORK) – Keith Olbermann surprised television viewers across the country on Friday with a brief, surprise resignation from his duties as host of Countdown With Keith Olbermann on MSNBC. In a short statement, he offered no explanation for his departure other than a quick thank you to those around him.
Now comes a report that his exit from the program was not abrupt, as many thought, but rather a planned event due to behind the scenes turmoil. The New York Times reports that in a presentation to potential advertisers on Thursday, MSNBC executives did not include Olbermann’s show along with the rest of the network’s primetime offerings.
The newspaper report cites executives from the network who said Olbermann, whose show was the highest rated on the network, would not be able to talk about his departure for several months, or work as the host of a television show for an undetermined amount of time. He would, however, be able to work on a radio program or on the Internet.
There has been widespread speculation that Olbermann’s departure was tied to the takeover of NBC Universal by Comcast, and that he may have been ushered out for political reasons. However Comcast issued a statement Friday, saying “We pledged from the day the deal was announced that we would not interfere with NBC Universal’s news operations. We have not and we will not.”
As for where the former SportsCenter and ESPN Radio host will land, he may have offered one clue on his Twitter account. Though he has not Tweeted since Friday, his biography has been updated to read “W A T C H T H I S S P A C E MLB.Com Baseball Nerd blog returns 2/14." Olbermann writes a baseball blog which is hosted by MLB.com.
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