ContractsProf Blog

Editor: Myanna Dellinger
University of South Dakota School of Law

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Keith Olbermann Contract

Keith_olbermann__smallRemember the Simpsons episode in which Homer invests in pumpkin futures and blithely predicts that the sky's the limit as the calendar moves into November? Well, no matter. Fresh from a huge spike in ratings for Keith Olbermann's show "Countdown with Keith Olbermann," as the New York Times reports, MSNBC has torn up its 4-year contract with Olbermann (pictured) entered into last year and replaced it with one that is almost twice as rich. Olbermann will now earn $7.5 million a year through the next Presidential elections in 2012.

Operating on the assumption that its viewers could never tire of Keith, the network also announced that Olbermann will play a prominent role in all major news events and will be a co-host of NBC's "Football Night in America." Chris Matthews could not be reached for comment. No offense to Keith; I enjoy a slightly unhinged political rant as much as anybody, but it's as if MSNBC believed that viewers became hooked on "Countdown" during the election season and will be unable to shake the addiction. I started watching the show occasionally during the last weeks of the campaign and I haven't thought about going back there since election day. $7.5 million a year! That's extraordinary! Where do they think Keith Olbermann will go if they don't pay him more than the $4 million a year they agreed to in February 2007? CNN? Fox News?

Moreover, as MSNBC's former president, Erik Sorenson, told the Associated Press, with reference to Olbermann and fellow MSNBC host, Rachel Maddow,

That said, the wrong guys won the election for MSNBC. If McCain won, Keith and Rachel would have a lot to talk about. The audience would have a lot to be angry about and focused on.

Here's to a decline in anger over the next four years!

[Jeremy Telman]

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