Keith Olbermann Quits Countdown

WTF? Hang on while we figure it out…

First of many updates: He’s not giving a reason. We’ll start the guessing with the Comcast takeover of NBC Universal.

Update #2: While we’re waiting for Interwebs to light up, let’s run the latest photo from his Twitter feed.

9:27pm ET: MSNBC runs Olbermann promo…


In a statement, MSNBC said: “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.”

MSNBC announced that “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnell would replace “Countdown” at 8 p.m., with “The Ed Show” with Ed Schultz taking Mr. O’Donnell’s slot at 10 p.m. Mr. Olbermann did not discuss any future plans, but NBC executives said one term of his settlement will keep him from moving to another network for an extended period of time.

9:59pm ET: Chris Hayes — who must have had a fun time guest-hosting — says Rachel will be back Monday night. Oh, and she’ll be on Maher’s show tonight. Wonder what they’ll talk about?


Msnbc spokesman Jeremy Gaines would say only that the acquisition of NBC Universal by Comcast, which received regulatory approval this week, had nothing to do with the decision.

Well, there goes that theory.


It’s been one of most eventful weeks of my life: crushing lows, great highs. And now this? Check, please!

Wow, I didn’t even tweet this and still the site crashed. Thought I learned my lesson after the earthquake…

@JNOV: Well, this part of the Information Superhighway isn’t designed for rush hours…

What should happen is that a flood of traffic slows it down, but doesn’t deplete the server of memory. I ratcheted down the memory setting last time this happened, and I’ll ratchet it down again later tonight.

Apparently something is happening on CNN?

Anyway: @BorowitzReport on twitter is bringing the win — cracks about Comcast making a statement sometime between 7am and 10am or between noon and 5pm, also.

@JNOV: Coop’s on it. Shuster’s on the phone. HAH!

Rachel on Maher in a few moments. Must see TV coming.

Well, there goes that theory.

Only if you believe they aren’t lying bastards.

@JNOV: Chatter is that it’s still fallout from the suspension.

Oh, and Howard Kurtz is an ass.

I missed the outage; was out eating chili with friends and discussing the one space or two at the end of sentences issue. Stinque did log me out, tho.

@nojo: So, I guess the morning Joe guy is quitting too?

Rachel was in shock, said nothing of note. Carry on.

Weird about all the calls for boycotting Comcast. I’d boycott Comcast but they run the local network for Sport, as well as Versus. That means boycotting hockey on teevee. In a fight between principle and hockey, I pick hockey. Yes: I am that shallow.

Howard Kurtz, not in Asshole Mode:

A knowledgeable official said the move had nothing to do with Comcast taking control of NBC next week, although the cable giant was informed when it received final federal approval for the purchase that Olbermann would be leaving the cable channel. This official described the dramatic divorce as mutual.

There’s some Twittage about Keef not being able to broadcast on TV for 1.5 years.

@JNOV: That would be the time remaining on his contract. Are they paying him in full?

@nojo: Don’t know — yes, that’s what’s left on his K. I’ll see what I can dig up on his monies.

@JNOV: I like “twittage.”

@nojo: The LA Times quoted MSNBC and saying that the network and Keith had “ended their contract.”. But non-compete clauses can extend beyond the term of a contract (where those clauses are legal; they seldom stand up in California).

I hate to say it but judging from the comments posted around the interwebz about Keef leaving, his fan base is not terribly bright.

What do you make of this twittage? ;-) @ Dodger.

Still no word on munnies.

Best tweet so far:

RT @pourmecoffee @JohnFugelsang: Midtown flooding linked to mass-orgasm event at FOX News studio.


Not sure if this helps, but I’ve seen Apache get wedged on a number of occasions with WordPress. I’ve never been able to track down *why*, but under certain loads the workers just hang and Apache (as designed) just spins more and more up until the machine fills up swap and dies.

I’ve been cranking MaxClients waaaay down from it’s default of 250 (to about 20-30) and that seems to help, as has bumping WordPress slices up to 512MB of RAM (from 256).

@al2o3cr: It doesn’t help that I haven’t implemented WP caching. But last time I looked — which was some time ago — I couldn’t selectively cache portions of pages, like I can with (say) CakePHP.

But yes, it’s MaxClients that I’m slowly ratcheting down — from 60 a month ago, to 58 last week, to 56 tonight.

I think Keef just wanted to get an early start on his MLB blog Baseball Nerd.

Comcast statement and more:

“Comcast has not closed the transaction for NBC Universal and has no operational control at any of its properties including MSNBC. We pledged from the day the deal was announced that we would not interfere with NBC Universal’s news operations. We have not and we will not.”

You know, Keef should move to Connecticut and run in 2012. The entertainment value alone requires that THIS MUST HAPPEN.

@chicago bureau: OMFG agreed. But it wouldn’t be as fun now that Droopy Joe isn’t running for reelection.

@chicago bureau: Tim Goodman, my favorite teevee/pop culture columnist, recently gone from the Ess Eff Chronic’s death spiral with his Bastard Machine column, has his Top 10 Options for Olbermann.. Some of them are inspired, and he makes a good case for all but the last two:

1. Go to Fox News
2. Go back to ESPN
3. Go to PBS
4. Go to England/BBC
5. Go to Oprah/OWN
6. Go to Comedy Central
7. Go to HBO/Showtime
8. Become the Commissioner of Major League Baseball
9. Create his own lefty news station
10. Retire

@SanFranLefty: Bridges asploded with ESPN and Murdoch, PBS doesn’t have the balls, and I’m not sure how Oprah would work (although I saw some chatter last night).

But Friday nights with Keef and Maher? That’s an eyebrow-raiser.

Meanwhile, the new evening line-up is Larry/Rachel/Ed. I think it’s generally agreed around here that Ed is insufferable, and personally I find Larry too full of Conventional Wisdom for my taste. (I’ve seen references along the lines of DLC Stooge.) Starting Monday, the Left Coast TV Dinner Hour begins at 6, and promptly ends at 7.

@nojo: Any new info/rumor/conjecture on why he left?

@Dodgerblue: Two lines of conjecture, which may converge:

1) The suspension for political contributions may have been The Last Straw. Keef famously doesn’t get along with Management, and even though he and the MSNBC honcho go back decades, he was pissed with how it was handled.

Example: Keef wanted to cry on Larry King’s suspenders or something during the suspension. MSNBC told him that would be grounds for dismissal.

2) Comcast. Roundly denied as an active agent, but Keef himself may have seen the writing on the wall. NBC honcho (and apparent Keef fan) Jeff Zucker also left Friday, in anticipation of Comcast taking over Monday. (I think the takeover is actually timed to the next round of paychecks.)

So, best guess: Keef saw Bad News ahead, and didn’t want to be part of it. The Brass was more than happy to oblige.

@nojo: Interesting. I didn’t know that Zucker had left. I’ve been in DC for a week and am pretty much relying on Stinque for news.

OK. Contrary opinion. Never got him. Couldn’t stand the ranting and vanity. He was never as funny as he thought he was. But that’s just me. Prefer Ed Schultz but try not to watch any of them. Maddow is intelligent but her attempts at being entertaining are painful to watch and get in the way of what she’s saying. Maher is OK doing new rules but the conversations are what I imagine dorm rooms after SNL to have been like.

@Dodgerblue: It was announced last month, I think, but I read this morning that Friday was his last day.

Zucker himself has a Storied History. You don’t reach his position without a few knives in your back.

@Benedick: Entertaining Blowhard. I never took him seriously, but his show was a lot of fun to watch at 5pm.

Brian Williams is actually a lot wittier — closer to Brinkley in his prime. But he’s too busy trying to be a Serious Newscaster.

Maher I keep at arm’s length. Occasionally useful, but I just don’t trust the guy.

@Benedick: Werd. He was okay when he was the lone voice in the wilderness, but he gotten a bit shrill.

@nojo: Brian Williams is surprisingly funny on Daily Show.

BTW. I was quite wrong about Gary Shandling Show and J Stewart’s involvement. Fine scripts very well done. I’m a stupid prick. I’m just so gosh-darn lovable.

@Tommmcatt is with Karin Marie on This One: It gets to be The Thing They Do. BTW. Your pome by the emperor made me think of fine history of homos in early China The Legend (?) of the Cut Sleeve. Fascinating.

@Benedick: I’m still debating whether to blow bucks on the entire Larry Sanders set. I have the first season and the Greatest Hits, but damn them, they didn’t release the Whole Shebang until afterwards. (Major Hollywood backstory there…)

Then again, if I didn’t grow up with Carson, I don’t know whether I’d enjoy it as much. So much of it is understanding the references.

@nojo: I almost never saw Carson and I find it funny. They’re showing the whole thing on IFC right now.

@Dodgerblue: For the record, some folks are hanging on this passage:

“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.”

The passive voice of “what I have been told” leads them to think that it wasn’t his decision. It sets up an anecdote about his last show on ESPN, when he had thirty seconds to say goodbye, cut to fifteen seconds in order to squeeze in a foreign sports score.

I’m going to stick with the Party Line for now: That everyone was happy to be rid of each other. MSNBC was rolling out the press releases before Keef threw his script at the camera.

Also, having been fired from a radio gig (long story, not as interesting), the rule is that you wait until after the show to drop the bomb. You don’t want a pissed-off announcer taking advantage of his Last Moments on air to screw you over…

@nojo: @al2o3cr:

Geek talk makes me all Sigourney Weaver in The Year of Living Dangerously.

Please feel free to talk about GNU, Linux, GNU/Linux, Red Hat Linux, Apache, Ubuntu, freeware vs. open source, Stallman and Linus, kernels… I’m all ears. ;-)

@nojo: Ohhhhhhh. Very good.

I just finished watching Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of WWII (streaming on Netflix). Very interesting. I wish I’d taken an interest in computer science when I was younger and that I hadn’t allowed myself to think that I couldn’t learn math. The killer part is that my dad was a programmer and systems analyst, and I’m better at math and at seeing patterns than he is. I suppose it’s never too late…

@SanFranLefty: Hahahahaha! Nojo’s ears are quite lovely. And as I said before, I’d wear a hearing aid to overcome the height disparity and his aching back…

This is as definitive as it’s gonna get for awhile…

For the last several weeks, Mr. Olbermann and the network have been in negotiations to end his successful run on MSNBC, according to executives involved in the talks who requested anonymity because the talks were confidential. The deal was completed on Friday, and Mr. Olbermann made the announcement on his final “Countdown” hours later.

Friday’s separation agreement between MSNBC and Mr. Olbermann includes restrictions on when he can next lead a television show and when he can give interviews about the decision to end his association with the news channel.

Left unanswered, unless I read too fast: Who started the divorce talks?


Unless there’s some mighty hamster-power behind the server, I think that may still be too high – Apache instances typically (in my experience) want about 20MB private RSS apiece with all the WordPress code loaded. It’s not normally a big deal, as a half-dozen or so are all it takes to serve normal loads – but spin up 56 of them, and most servers will have some problems. My favorite is when enough start up that the Linux out-of-memory killer starts, and promptly kills mysqld – ensuring that NOTHING will ever come out again…

As to the actual topic, I think your update at 7:52pm says it all – nobody drops gag orders if it’s at all a friendly split.

@nojo: Ironic it’s 1 year to the day after the Conan Kerfuffle. I noticed you ignored JNOV’s comment w/r/t tall men with ears.

@al2o3cr: Was any of that English? The only words I recognized in your message were: ensuring, come, the, be, too, so, most, and will — then there was gah gah gah shit RSS Apache code. And I don’t think that’s something RML can explain to me. Should we make you Deputy Hamster?

@al2o3cr: I’m keeping an eye on it. There’s also the issue of thread life, and how large they grow over time — I’m seeing child processes ranging from 20-40 megs.

We may have a few stalls yet. Just a matter of finding the optimal numbers.

ADD: It’s not WP code as such — PHP adds a huge load to a given process. Instead, it’s all the files that have to be gathered for a given page (hi, hard drive!), plus all the PHP-MySQL traffic. I’ve coded large PHP-MySQL sites from scratch, and they’re a lot snappier, since I control everything. They’re also a fucking bitch to maintain…

@SanFranLefty: Some Geek is untranslatable. Feel free to regard it as gibberish.

@nojo: I’m busy tripping on how the Chinese government “harmonized” Nick Kristof’s sample blog to have blue skies and clouds. And laughing about how his kid was horrified to learn that she couldn’t access YouTube or FaceBook in China.

@SanFranLefty: Did he hear about how the delegates at trade meetings staying at ‘Friendship Hotel’s have their laptops scanned between 2-4 AM?

It’s a trip to see your AV go ballistic, much less every single night you were in those hotels.

Dumbass lawsuit of the decade. Dude sues under diversity of jurisdiction for bad hooker experience in Las Vegas. Story:


Doesn’t seem like he’s lawyered up. Bring out Rule 11(b) and Orly for fuck’s sake.

@SanFranLefty: Guess Nojo doesn’t do crazy. :-(

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