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Keith Olbermann sacked by Current TV; likely legal battle looms

By Scott Collins, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — After barely a year, Current TV has sacked fiery host Keith Olbermann.

In a statement Friday afternoon, former Vice President Al Gore and legal entrepreneur Joel Hyatt, who co-founded the upstart cable network, took an extraordinary swipe at their outspoken host, who endured rocky tenures with a series of previous network employers, including MSNBC and EPSN. “Countdown,” Olbermann’s show, will evidently be canceled immediately.

Gore and Hyatt said Current was founded on “the values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.” Former New York Gov. Eliot M. Spitzer, whose CNN talk show failed to catch on, will replace Olbermann, the pair added.

A Current spokeswoman declined to elaborate. But a source familiar with the situation said Olbermann was actually fired Thursday morning, after managers grew increasingly frustrated with his absenteeism and other work habits. The network expects litigation over the ouster, the source added.

The host bashed back quickly. “I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV,” Olbermann tweeted late Friday. “Editorially, ‘Countdown’ had never been better.” He also vowed a lawsuit against the network.

Patty Glaser, an experienced litigator who has represented Olbermann in the past, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.

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