How Keith Olbermann Landed at Current TV

3:03 PM PST 02/08/2011 by Lindsay Powers
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The net's newest primetime host "had no choice," an insider tells THR.

How did Keith Olbermann end up at Current TV?

"He had no choice but to go to a place like Current because his non-compete excluded just about every other place," an MSNBC insider tells The Hollywood Reporter.

"Contract terms never stipulated Current TV as one of the targeted outlets," the source added.

A MSNBC spokesperson had no comment.

Olbermann stepped down from MSNBC in January, shortly after the Comcast-NBCU merger was kicked off in a town hall meeting. He reportedly had a six to nine month non-compete.

Olbermann confirmed Tuesday that he'll host a nightly primetime TV show on Al Gore's channel, which is watched by 23,000 people  a night. It's due to kick off later this year. He'll also serve as chief news officer.

Wunderlich Securities analyst Matthew Harrigan predicted that Olbermann's return to the TV screen would mean "a huge impact on ratings" at the network.

He estimated that the current average primetime viewership could multiply ten-fold or even more.

"Keith Olbermann obviously was the man who made MSNBC, and he has got a very loyal audience," Harrigan said. "This is huge for Current."

The format of the show is still being worked out, but Olbermann pointedly stressed that his Current program would be "free" and "independent" from "corporate interference."

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