A lawsuit seeking $50 million to $70 million has been filed against Current TV on behalf of Olbermann Broadcasting Empire and Keith Olbermann, according to a number of media reports. Olbermann was fired from Current TV last week. The suit was filed in Los Angeles at the California Superior Court yesterday, April 5, 2012.
The Hollywood Reporter has published a copy of the lawsuit, which we urge you to read. It makes for compelling reading about what happened behind the scenes, from Olbermann’s point of view.
According to the lawsuit, “After being enticed to leave MSNBC and come to Current with promises of editorial control, freedom form corporate influence, and the professional support to produce a high-caliber political commentary show of the type his viewers have come to expect, Keith Olbermann was disheartened to discover Al Gore, Joel Hyatt, and the management of Current are no more than dilettantes portraying entertainment industry executives.”
What’s actually most interesting in that paragraph is that it may be the first public acknowledgement that Olbermann was proactively urged to leave MSNBC by Current TV.
Later on the lawsuit says, “When assessing the Program’s 33rd Street studio in an Oct. 5, 2011, e-mail to Olbermann, Current President David Bohrman admitted ‘the 33rd St. facility is never going to be a professional facility. We need to move to HD, and a better location.’ He further admitted in that same e-mail, ‘We are paying for a Porsche and getting a Yugo.’ Bohrman’s e-mail then thanked Olbermann for his patience and acknowledged that Olbermann had ‘more patience that [sic] I would have had.’ Olbermann thought he had made a deal with a legitimate network and instead got an unprofessional cable-access show."
According to a report in The New York Times’ Media Decoder blog on this story, Current TV’s response to Olbermann’s suit was this dig: “It is well established that over his professional career Mr. Olbermann has specialized in pounding the table. We hope Mr. Olbermann understands that when it comes to the legal process, he is actually required to show up."
As reported previously by TVWeek, Olbermann talked about his dispute with Current TV, including founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt, during an appearance this week on "Late Show with David Letterman," in which he satirically took the blame for his problems with the cable channel. Video highlights of that appearance can be seen by clicking here.