As promised, Keith Olbermann has sued Current TV. And as promised, the suit casts Current’s Joel Hyatt as power hungry and reneging on his word and Al Gore as complicit. He calls the channel’s two-co-founders as “dilettantes portraying entertainment industry executives” and the channel overall as the “keystone cops.”
And while Olbermann’s suit has many of the details that have popped up in the press in recent months, as the relationship soured, his claim argues that the deal to come to Current was troubled from day one. The channel, he said, wouldn’t properly market and promote the debut of “Countdown,” nor would they post clips from the show on the web, something essential to building audience buzz for a cable channel most subscribers are unaware they even have.
It’s Hyatt who is the target of much of the suit, as Olbermann claims that he pushed a polished television executive, Mark Rosenthal, out the door and instead made himself the chieftan of the network even though he had no experience. It was Hyatt, Olbermann’s suit says, who sought to do things on the cheap, delivering a technically subpar show in a subpar studio with no security. A homeless man once wandered in to Olbermann’s private office, the suit notes.
But Olbermann also seeks to point out the flaws of Current not just with what happened in the past, but the network’s future. He slams their picks of Cenk Uygur and Jennifer Granholm in the primetime lineup, as Current rejected his ideas for two unnamed journalists to host news shows.
Olbermann’s arrival at Current was trumpeted as a way to remake the network in a progressive voice, all but in his image. Yet he suggests that Current got carried away on the strength of personality to draw in viewers, forgoing pricier promotional campaigns.
Current will have to file a response, which undoubtedly will add more fuel to this fire. But what is striking about Olbermann’s complaint is the detail in which he goes into his grievances, not just ego and broken promises but the inability of a fledgling network to literally keep the lights on.
The complete suit is here.