Keith Olbermann Agrees to Anchor Current Election Coverage (Exclusive)

 Wesley Mann

After a rocky week of public sniping between Keith Olbermann and the management of Current, Olbermann will anchor on election nights beginning after the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday.

"I am pleased that I’ll be running the election coverage on Current, following this Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary," said Olbermann in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday. "However, I don’t think those participating in the New Hampshire primary will share my satisfaction."

A spokesperson for Current confirmed that progress between the two parties was made over the weekend and that they expect Olbermann to participate in election coverage going forward. 

STORY: Keith Olbermann Blasts Current TV; Internal Memo Reveals Tension Over GOP Primary 

"He told us he will do upcoming special election coverage," a Current spokesperson told THR on Sunday. "We certainly hope he does. That was our intention all along."

Olbermann will have complete creative and editorial control. But it's unclear exactly what that coverage will look like; whether Olbermann will do a special edition of Countdown with his own panel of guests or lead the network's Politically Direct election specials, which have featured Cenk Uygur, Jennifer Granholm and network co-founder Al Gore

The timing of the détente means Politically Direct will continue as planned on Tuesday. 

Olbermann is nearly a year into a five-year deal that includes the title of chief news officer and an equity stake in the channel. Simmering tensions between Olbermann and Current management boiled over when Current pre-empted Olbermann’s Countdown on Jan. 3 for Politically Direct coverage of the Iowa caucuses, the first vote of the GOP primary season.

Olbermann had planned to anchor his show on Jan. 3 as usual and had his staff report to work. This prompted Current president David Bohrman to send the Countdown staff a memo to clear up the “misunderstanding.”

“As we assumed Keith had communicated to you, Keith was asked to be the sole anchor and executive producer of our primary and caucus coverage. He declined,” wrote Bohrman in the memo, which was obtained by THR. “We then made other plans to have our 4 hours of prime time election coverage [Jan. 3] hosted by Al Gore, Jennifer Granholm, and The Young Turks. We tried several times to have Keith participate in our coverage, including being the lead anchor for the 8p hour tonight, incorporated with our election group in the Los Angeles studio and produced in the LA control room.”

STORY: Keith Olbermann Addresses His Absence From Iowa Caucus Coverage With THR 

Olbermann said in a statement to THR that he was “never given a legitimate opportunity to host under acceptable conditions. They know it and we know it.”

It’s no secret that Olbermann’s New York-based show has been beset by technical difficulties; satellite feeds have dropped out and in early December a blown fuse caused the lights to go out while Olbermann was on the air. 


Twitter: @MarisaGuthrie

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