Keith Olbermann, the MSNBC commentator on the news and opinion program 'Countdown,' implied in his farewell speech that he was told that Friday's program would be the last edition of his show.
Olbermann's run on MSNBC comes nearly eight years after he began. He was initially called in as just a three-day temporary replacement for another on-air host, he noted on Friday.
MSNBC said in a statement that MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The cable network thanked Olbermann for his integral role in the channel's success and wished him well.
I think the same fantasy has popped into the head of everybody in my business who has ever been told what I have been told, that this is going to be the last edition of your show, Olbermann said at the start of his farewell.
Olbermann referred to a scene in the 1976 film Network where the main character, a television anchor being fired, urges his audience on the air to become angry and not accept only the bad news which broadcasters present.
Olbermann described the character's farewell speech and the broadcaster's fantasy as an event where you go off on an existential, other-worldly verbal journey of unutterable profundity and vision.
Olbermann also said he was grateful that I have a little more time to sign off here, referring to a departure from the ESPN sports network 13 years ago, when he says a producer gave him just 15 seconds to sign off.
Olbermann described his program as anti-establishment and said it grew thanks to his audience's support.
However he noted a change in recent years.
There were many occasions, particularly in the last two and a half years, where all that surrounded the show, but never the show itself, was just too much for me, he said. Olbermann implied that his audience had a role in keeping him on air.
With your support and loyalty, if I may use the word insistence, ultimately required that I keep going, he said. He thanked his audience for donating money to certain causes and for aid to others.
He ended with a story from James Thurber entitled Scottie Who Knew Too Much.
In the story a city dog goes to the country to fight animals which farm dogs are afraid fight. He does so with confidence but without asking questions about his opponents. However he loses badly against what are suggested to be a skunk and porcupine, and even loses to a farm dog in the end.
Moral? It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers, Olbermann reads to end Thurber's story.