The Keith Olbermann vs. Current TV feud is just getting started.
Current TV filed a cross complaint on Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, seeking a determination that “it had every right to terminate” Olbermann, “rather than continuing to pay a princely sum while receiving a pauper’s performance in return.” They claim that Olbermann was “showing up sporadically and utterly failing to keep up his end of the bargain.”
They claim that “instead of delivering the open, collaborative relationship called for by his contract, Mr. Olbermann instead completely shut himself off from the rest of the network.”
Among other things, the network claims that in January and February, Olbermann worked just 19 of 41 working days.
Current includes passages from Olbermann’s contract, pointing out areas where it called for him to promote the network, appear on other shows and develop specials and do other types of P.R.
The suit also makes light of Olbermann’s claims that the network was “cheap,” and portrays him as a prima donna. “[H]e arrogantly and falsely calls ‘cheap’ the company that has paid him the highest compensation he had ever received in his career, provided him the largest staff of any program he had ever works, and paid over $50,000 in an eight month period to eight different limousine companies because none of the previous seven were able to meet his Patrician standards for how to drive him around New York City.”
It goes on to cite examples of his behavior, Current includes some of Olbermann’s emails, in which he berates Current President David Bohrman and, in another, he is upset that a photo of the set has been given to the press by the set designer. “Can you assassinate him please?” he tells Current co-founder Joel Hyatt. In another incident, the studio’s landlord complained that Olbermann threw a glass mug on the set, causing it to shatter.
Imagine what the discovery process will be like in this suit.
The problem for Olbermann is that the suit exposes one more employer with whom he butted heads; the problem for Current is that the suit is probably the most publicity they have gotten since, well, when they hired Olbermann.
Current claims that Olbermann refused to consult with its senior executives about the show, and instead assigned those tasks to his manager and agent. In his suit, Olbermann complains that it was Current who insisted that he only consult with them and not involve his representatives.
It also appears there is a dispute over the interpretation of his contract. Current, for instance, says that he had a right to be consulted about the “lead-in” and “lead-out” shows to “Countdown,” hosted by Cenk Uygur and Jennifer Granholm, but not a “right of approval.”