Well that didn't last long. Current TV, the languishing cable channel co-founded by Al Gore, fired liberal firebrand Keith Olbermann this week, ending a rocky, eight-month marriage. While Current claims the mercurial Olbermann flouted its values of "openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers," Olbermann is lamenting his "foolish" decision to join Current, and says he'll sue. It's not the first time that Olbermann, a veteran of ESPN and MSNBC, has left an employer on spectacularly bad terms. For all his popularity with liberal viewers, the latest divorce is cementing the perception that the temperamental anchorman is impossible to work with. Will another network take a chance on him?
Olbermann is damaged goods: Olbermann's record of "not playing well with his bosses" has become "a running gag," says James Poniewozik at TIME. While he has a loyal viewership, it's improbable that any television network will "hire him again, ever, to do anything." Olbermann complains that the production values at Current were subpar, but the head honchos at the channel gave him free rein to chart the direction of his show. "At some point, it's not them, it's you."
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Olbermann is too talented to remain unemployed: Olbermann has a "terrible relationship with actual humans," but "a very good relationship with the camera," says David Carr at The New York Times. Anchoring a news program is a lot harder than it looks, and "as cable stations proliferate, the desperate search for people" who can "hold an audience's attention will only become more acute." Think of Olbermann as a "supremely talented left-handed pitcher with a strong arm — and some obvious control issues." It's a sure bet that "some executives will eventually plug their noses" and sign him up.
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He needs to go to a bigger channel: Current was too small for Olbermann's outsized presence, says Tim Goodman at The Hollywood Reporter. "His talents [would be] better served in high-profile settings," such as Showtime, HBO, Comedy Central, or even former employer ESPN — "and boy, could that increasingly useless barge of blather use his presence." He could even play a role in a new sports channel reportedly being developed by Rupert Murdoch. Don't think it's possible? "I'm afraid your cynicism is clouding your understanding of business."
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