In anticipation of the premiere later this month of his new "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" on Current TV, the former MSNBC political commentator opened up during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter and dished about not only his new gig but also his sudden exit from MSNBC.
Olbermann says his position at MSNBC took a hit with the death of Tim Russert, who was reportedly one of his few allies in the NBC family. Soon after Russert’s death, Olbermann apparently got into a hassle with Jeff Zucker after Olbermann was perceived to be gossiping about Zucker’s future with post-Comcast NBC.
"There was a lot of speculation about what would happen," said Olbermann. "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."
Sources cited in the THR piece say Olbermann will be making $10 million a year at Current, an increase of more than 40% over his $7 million MSNBC salary–which he is still collecting. The show will also include paid contributions from Michael Moore, Matt Taibbi and Markos Moulitsas.
Olbermann’s Current TV show debuts June 20 at 8 p.m., airing opposite his old MSNBC time slot.