From the Hollywood Reporter:
Turns out “indefinitely” only meant “a couple days.” After suspending Keith Olbermann for donating to Democrat candidates on Friday, MSNBC announced Sunday evening the Countdown host will return to the air on Tuesday.
From Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC:
After several days of deliberation and discussion, I have determined that suspending Keith through and including Monday night’s program is an appropriate punishment for his violation of our policy. We look forward to having him back on the air Tuesday night.
Rob Port points out:
But I also wonder how much of MSNBC’s decision had to do with the fact that lots and lots of MSNBC employees give money to political candidates. I can’t link directly to the search results, but if you click here and enter MSNBC in the employer field you come up with a big list of contributions from MSNBC employees to political candidates and/or political parties.
Some interesting names come up, like frequent on-air commentator Bill Press ($500 to the DNC) and morning show host Joe Scaraborough (a 2006 contribution to Derrick Kitts while he was the host of his former show Scaraborough Country on MSNBC).
Politico’s Mike Allen reports that “network sources” told him that Olbermann was not suspended last week after the discovery of his political contributions but instead because he refused to apologize for them on air:
BEHIND THE CURTAIN: Network sources tell Playbook that Keith Olbermann was suspended because he refused to deliver an on-camera mea culpa, which would have allowed him to continue anchoring “Countdown.” Olbermann told his bosses he didn’t know he was barred from making campaign contributions, although he is resisting saying that publicly. Olbermann may not hold as many cards as he thinks. He makes $7 million a year and MSNBC’s prime time is not as dependent on him as it was before the addition of Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell, who make considerably less.
MSNBC’s ratings certainly back up the last line about Olbermann not holding as many cards as he thinks, something Steve Krakauer pointed out on Friday: “Rachel Maddow is getting better ratings than Olbermann in the key A25-54 demographic, and Lawrence O’Donnell isn’t far behind. Olbermann is no longer the center of the strategy either – as the network has unveiled a vibrant, massive new campaign “Lean Forward” which focuses on half a dozen members of the MSNBC talent pool.”
As for whether a public apology would solved all of Olbermann’s problems at the network? History suggests otherwise. Back in 2008 David Shuster apologized on air for his “pimped out” remarks and still faced a two week suspension. So perhaps the likelier scenario is that Olbermann was offered a reduced suspension for an on air apology and turned it down. That said, Olbermann is no David Shuster and his absence on the network, despite any inner strife at MSNBC is huge.
Yes, and he will now be viewed as a heroic icon even more than he was before by the Nutroots Left.
Which might increase his viewership by, like, 7.