Current TV Axes Olbermann, Hires Spitzer

Current bosses say their relationship with Olbermann no longer reflects the "respect" and "collegiality" the station is founded on

Current TV announced Friday that it has severed its relationship with Keith Olbermann barely a year after he signed a five-year $50 million contract with the station.

The station's founders, Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, released a statement indicating that their relationship with Olbermann no longer reflects Current's values of "respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers."

"Countdown with Keith Olbermann" will be replaced with "Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer," hosted by the former governor of New York beginning 8 p.m. Eastern on Friday.

Olbermann, who has a long history of explosive departures, fired back via 11 Twitter updates and a finale statement.

"Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I've been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract."

He adds that he has already begun filing legal action against the pair and "in due course, the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out."

While Current's statement does not pinpoint a particular catalyst for their move, a source told Politico that Olbermann was fired for breach of contract, including "a failure to show up for work, sabatoging the network and attacking Current and its executives."

In January and February, when the GOP presidential race kicked off, Olberman missed 19 out of 41 working days, Politico reported. He was also out March 5, the eve of Super Tuesday.

The New York Times reported in January that Olberman declined to host special election coverage "apparently out of frustratrion about technical difficulties that have plagued his 8 p.m. program." The channel produced the election shows without him.

Olbermann has also had bad break-ups with ESPN, which did not renew his contract in 1997, and MSNBC, which he left just 14 months ago, ending an 8-year run.

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