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Olbermann Departs 'Countdown' With Little Explanation

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Broadcaster and MSNBC poster/bad boy Keith Olbermann ended his popular Countdown show last night with a surprise announcement: It was the end of the show, and the end of his tenure at the network. "The departure was a stealth move, MSNBC insiders told POLITICO, with many top executives and on-air personalities kept out of the loop as the decision was made." In fact, a half hour after "Countdown" ended last night, Olbermann's image still appeared in a station promo spot.

"There were many occasions particularly in the past two and a half years where all that surrounded the show, but never the show itself, was too much for me," said Olbermann during his adieu. "With your support and loyalty, and if I may use the word insistence, ultimately required that I keep going."

MSNBC issued a statement, notes the NY Times, but offered no detailed explanation of the move: "MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of ‘Countdown with Keith Olbermann’ will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in his future endeavors."

The network "announced that 'The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell' would replace Olbermann's 'Countdown' at 8 p.m., with 'The Ed Show 'with Ed Schultz taking Mr. O’Donnell’s slot at 10 p.m." according to LA Observed. Olbermann's broadcast history includes several years in Los Angeles, with stints at KTLA and KCBS, where he earned 11 Golden Mike Awards, and he was named best sportscaster by the California Associated Press three times.