The Media

Quote of the Afternoon

"[Olbermann] 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 anchored, given him the largest studio and custom-designed set on which he had ever worked, 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." Current TV's response to Olbermann's lawsuit filed yesterday

On the podcast yesterday, I compared Olbermann's move to Current with Howard Stern's move to Sirius. One guy, Stern, made the best of his move, even though his ratings were a small fraction of his former gig, and the other, Olbermann, evidently allowed his personal demons to rule the day.

  • arirutenberg

    I totally disagree with @mrbrink. I used to be a big Olbermann fan, but this episode demonstrates him to be a petty, childish, egomaniacal prima donna who is at best disrespectful to his colleagues, and at worst outright contemptuous. He knew what Current was when he got there.

    And aside from that, whatever the situation is at Current doesn’t give Keith the right to consistently and routinely materially breach the agreement he signed. If anyone at a normal job, or even a really elite job, constantly took vacation without asking and instructed his staff not to cooperate with the rest of the company he would be fired immediately.

    I don’t think another network will touch Olbermann after this. I wouldn’t hire him. And I hate to give Rupert Murdoch credit, but he called Olbermann nuts, and he was right.

    What an asshole.

    • mrbrink

      Disagree all you want. I never accounted for Olbermann’s off-air personality or how he plays with others. In my opinion, most of his colleagues, with the sole exception being Rachel Maddow, have been assholes, too.

  • KQµårk™

    Obviously Current TV is ‘cheap’ by necessity because they don’t accept as many corporate sponsors as other networks. It would be like Bill Moyers calling PBS cheap. No Class.

  • muselet


    Because the British did not abolish wager by battle until Parliament’s 1819 response to Ashford v Thornton (1818), and because no court in post-independence United States has addressed the issue, the question of whether trial by combat remains a valid American alternative to civil action remains open, at least in theory.

    Please let it be so, just for this one case.


  • mrbrink

    I think Olbermann has a point, though, and a right to be a little pissed about the situation. Current as a network is currently terrible. There’s still no HD. The programming is repetitive. The “talent” that they signed up to complement Olbermann are boring and forgettable. Current looks like a corpse of a dancing partner in all this. Half-assed promotional work and advertising for the network was a lousy model for success and a terrible approach to building a credible reputation.

    And this is not to defend Olbermann’s perceived ego issues, because I really don’t care that the guy is a bit of a dick to his bosses and those scattered colleagues still trying to break into the big time. That doesn’t concern me. I’d like to know what Rachel Maddow thought of him, though. But the way I see it, Current really didn’t live up to expectations, or potential, and they’ve had plenty of time and money to upgrade their broadcast to HD and hire better network accompaniment.

    I really do hope Current can get it together, but I have my doubts.

    • KQµårk™

      It’s all about $$$$$ not strategy. To be more polished Current would have to sell out to big corporate sponsors. It’s ridiculous to compare Current’s productions capabilities .to the mega news networks.

      • mrbrink

        Maybe they shouldn’t have blown their wad on Keith Olbermann?

        If it’s ridiculous to think that Current shouldn’t be upgrading their broadcast, or scouting talent more thoroughly, then they get what they pay for.

        I don’t know what WTTW’s financial situation is, but I can still watch “Check Please” and Rick Steves in HD. Is it possible that it is possible to do more with less, and still find a niche among the big boys? I think it is.