For nearly a year now, Al Gore and Joel Hyatt have been building their liberal cable news channel, Current TV, with the mercurial television anchorman Keith Olbermann at its center.
This week, the center collapsed.
Current said on Friday afternoon that it had fired Mr. Olbermann — one of the nation’s most prominent progressive speakers — just a year into his five-year, $50 million contract. It was the culmination of months of murky disputes between Mr. Olbermann and the channel that he was supposed to save from the throes of ratings oblivion.
You want the funny part? Dig this:
Current was also founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it.
We are moving ahead by honoring Current's values.
So how does Olbermann's former employer honor its own values? By hiring Eliot Spitzer, of course.
If you don't remember Spitzer, and who could blame you, here's an astringent little synopsis of his career from the NYT article:
But they immediately named as his replacement Eliot L. Spitzer, the former governor of New York, who took over Mr. Olbermann’s 8 p.m. time slot on Friday night. It represents Mr. Spitzer’s second shot at an 8 p.m. talk show; in 2010, two years after he resigned the governorship after he admitted having patronized a prostitution ring, he led a short-lived show on CNN. It was canceled in mid-2011.Nothing honors values quite like hiring a high-profile john.
Right now I'm reading a book about another of Olbermann's former employers, ESPN, called "Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN." It's an interesting book and it serves as a reminder of the days, now nearly 20 years ago, when Olbermann was one of the funniest guys on television. Like a lot of sports guys, he had ambitions beyond what is known in the media biz as "the toy department." And even then, he had a reputation for being a pain in the butt. There's no disputing Olbermann's talent, but hubris always gets you in the end.