×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Primary issues for Olbermann, Current

Newsie will skip New Hamphire, but net says he'll be in on other primaries

After a very public falling out with MSNBC last year, Current TV hired Keith Olbermann at great expense (reportedly $50 million over five years, including a stake in the tiny cabler). But last Tuesday’s Iowa caucuses came and went without Olbermann weighing in for Current.

Now, Olbermann is deferring participation in the New Hampshire primary as well, citing a “preplanned vacation” during one of the biggest political events of the primary season. David Shuster is filling in on “Countdown” this week, the network said.

Olbermann, who communicated with both the press (and apparently his colleagues at Current) largely through Twitter, said he was “informed Countdown will not be on tonight” on Jan. 3. “I must defer on all questions to @JoelHyatt @AlGore and @Current.” Olbermann was invited to participate in the caucuses but appeared to have declined to do so without informing the staff of his show.

For followers of the journo’s career, the story sounded awfully familiar. Last year saw Olbermann’s abrupt departure from the Peacock’s news cabler, where the network had more or less built its primetime schedule around “Countdown” — a schedule that can now stand on its own but depended heavily on Olbermann’s rabble-rousing commentary in its early years.

Current, obviously, hopes to replicate that success — no mean feat, considering that the network doesn’t have a wealthy parent company to absorb any missteps. And, until recently, things looked good. The show brought viewers from MSNBC and sparked new growth in a network that has been batting cleanup on the Nielsen ranker more or less since its founding.

With Olbermann drawing attention, Current hired David Bohrman, formerly chief innovation officer at CNN, to help the network build a larger news operation. Many have questioned whether the hire rankled with Olbermann, who was announced last June in a managerial role at the network in addition to his on-air position.

According to sources at both other publications and in the cable news world, however, Olbermann has grown unhappy with frequent technical glitches that plague “Countdown” in its new home.

Current, for its part, seems anxious to let everyone know that tensions eased over the weekend, but the network is now in the position of having to ask nicely, at least if it wants further participation from its flagship show’s leading personality.

“Keith has agreed to host future special election coverage on Current,” the net said on Monday via a spokeswoman. “We hope that this will start after New Hampshire. We’re looking forward to insightful and impactful 2012 election analysis.”

Olbermann confirmed (on Twitter, of course) that he’ll continue to cover the election for the net, but it’s not clear what form that coverage will take.

More TV

  • FC Edmonton defender Albert Watson (5),

    Mediapro Buys Tri-Lite TV, Sets 2019 Roadmap

    Furthering its expansion in  North America, Spain’s Mediapro has purchased Canadian services company Tri-Lite TV. Put through by Mediapro Canada, the deal comes days after Mediapro confirmed the acquisition of 10-year rights to the Canadian Premiere League, a new soccer competition to launch April 27 across the country. Mediapro has also announced global revenues for [...]

  • BBC Studios' ‘Great Bake Off’ to

    APOS: BBC’s ‘Great Bake Off’ to be Reheated in Thailand

    BBC Studios Distribution has sold the Love Productions format “The Great Bake Off” for production in Thailand. It is the cooking competition show’s first localized version in Asia. “Bake Off Thailand” will be produced by APJ&CO, a local production house known for producing the recent seasons of “The Voice Thailand.” Over eight weeks, 12 of the country’s [...]

  • Lutz Schüler Replacing Tom Mockridge at

    Lutz Schüler Replacing Tom Mockridge at Liberty Global’s Virgin Media

    Lutz Schüler is taking the reins at U.K. cabler Virgin Media, replacing media industry veteran Tom Mockridge who is stepping down. New Zealander Mockridge is exiting to move base himself in Italy with his family. He has had a long career in pay TV and newspapers. In TV he worked at several Rupert Murdoch baked [...]

  • Movistar+ Announces Ambitious Original Series ‘La

    Movistar+ Announces Ambitious Original Series ‘La Unidad’

    MELILLA, Spain — Spain’s pay TV leader Movistar+ has announced its newest original series, the anti-terrorist police drama-thriller series “La Unidad,” which started filming last week in the small autonomous Spanish community of Melilla, located on the Moroccan coast. One of the biggest international plays to date for Movistar +, the pay TV/SVOD unit of [...]

  • Visitors arrive at the Hudson Yards

    AT&T Sells WarnerMedia Hudson Yards Space to Pay Down Debt

    AT&T has cut a deal to sell and lease back its WarnerMedia office space in New York’s glitzy Hudson Yards development for $2.2 billion to help pare down its enormous debt load. AT&T said Tuesday it has set a deal to sell its office space at 30 Hudson Yards to an affiliate of Related Companies, [...]

  • Japanese actor Ken Watanabe poses on

    Ken Watanabe to Star in Japan Edition of 'The Fugitive'

    Warner Bros. International Television Production and Japan’s TV Asahi network are teaming to remake “The Fugitive” as a special program that celebrates TV Asahi’s 60th anniversary. Ken Watanabe (“The Last Samurai,” “Godzilla,” “Inception”) will star in the title role made famous by David Janssen in the 1963-1967 U.S. TV series and then by Harrison Ford [...]

  • black lgbtq actors hollywood representation

    TV Roundup: 'Pose' Season 2 Premiere Date Pushed Back on FX

    In today’s roundup, “Pose” gets a new Season 2 premiere date and Sara Gilbert is set to play a recurring role on Season 3 of Netflix’s “Atypical.” FIRST LOOK The TV Academy has unveiled the key art for the 71st Emmy Awards. The new design, which will be used across platforms including the Emmy’s website, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content