MSNBC almost brought back Keith Olbermann to replace Rachel Maddow: report

Keith Olbermann, who got fired from MSNBC over a decade ago, claimed he was in talks with NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell and news boss Cesar Conde to return to MSNBC and take over Rachel Maddow’s 9 p.m. time slot, according to a report.

Maddow told her viewers on Jan. 31 that she would be taking a hiatus to work on a series of projects, including films, and would be temporarily stepping away from her primetime gig.

But any fleeting dream of former “Countdown” host Olbermann returning to MSNBC was squashed when Maddow stepped in personally to veto him as her successor, according to a report from The Daily Beast.

“I offered to have her production company ‘produce’ the show. Would give her some proxy control and a f–kton of money but she and [former MSNBC boss-turned-consultant to Maddow’s production company] Phil Griffin refused,” Olbermann told The Daily Beast, claiming that the network also offered him a show in 2016.

“I do not expect to continue negotiations with the successors to this management team,” he added. “Management is worse than asleep at the switch.”

Keith Olbermann, the former MSNBC talking head, who hosted “Countdown,” said he was in talks to replace Maddow.
Frederick M. Brown

MSNBC declined to comment.

Staffers have been panicking under new network president Rashida Jones, who has yet to name a replacement for Maddow, who recently signed a massive $30 million deal to work less and transition out of her nightly broadcast.

Olbermann, who was once Maddow’s mentor, was canned from MSNBC in 2011 after his relationship with Griffin reportedly became strained.

A string of incidents lead to Olbermann’s exit. The outspoken anchor violated NBC News policy by donating to three political campaigns, including the congressional campaign of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. He was suspended for two days and apologized to his fans, but not the network.

Rachel Maddow
Rachel Maddow inked a massive $30 million deal to work less on her primtime show and produce films.
Paul Marotta

Later, when NBCU was acquired by Comcast, Olbermann told The Hollywood Reporter he was caught gossiping about the fate of then-boss Jeff Zucker at the company, which was the nail in his coffin.

“There was a lot of speculation about what would happen,” he said. “One surprisingly accurate bit of speculation on every floor of the building was, ‘I betcha they don’t keep Jeff.’ And apparently, he heard that I had said this. I was there and I was a convenient punching bag and everybody would believe everything they said about me. And so off I went.”

The former MSNBC talking head was later fired by now-defunct Current TV in 2012. At the time, Current TV cited a lack of “respect” and “collegiality” in its relationship with Olbermann. He also had exited ESPN and returned to the network a few times.

MSNBC Live -- Decision 2010 -- Pictured: (l-r) Keith Olbermann, host of é-·Countdowné-·, Rachel Maddow, host é-·The Rachel Maddow Showé-· during "Decision 2010" on November 2, 2010  (Photo by Virginia Sherwood/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images via Getty Images)
Keith Olbermann, who was Rachel Maddow’s mentor at MSNBC, was fired in 2011.
NBC

Most notably in 2015, Olbermann was fired after a string of issues, which included the talking head tweeting at Penn State University supporters that they were “pitiful” and “morons,” Politico reported. Olbermann also came under fire after calling on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to resign because of his “weak, damaging and almost enabling reaction” to the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal.

He now occasionally offers commentary on Twitter from a Manhattan balcony, according to Mediate.

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