Keith Olbermann renews MSNBC deal

'Countdown' host will stay on through 2011

NEW YORK -- Just because Barack Obama has been elected president and George W. Bush is retiring to Texas in two months, don't think that Keith Olbermann is getting out of the "Special Comment" business.

Olbermann, who signed a four-year deal with MSNBC that will keep him at "Countdown" and NBC's "Sunday Night Football" until at least 2012, said Monday that he isn't ruling out doing the commentary that has helped vault his 5-year-old show to its best-ever ratings last month.

It may not be the same type -- directed at President Bush, Sen. John McCain and others who have drawn Olbermann's ire -- but there's plenty to comment on.

"There could be just as many of them this year and next year, but they might be just directed at topics. They may be more commentary and less 'free this land' kind of stuff, but you never know," Olbermann said. "I have no idea what Obama is going to do in office. I have no earthly clue. I mean I have a guess, but I can't predict it."

But the contract extension for Olbermann -- which gives him about $7.5 million a year for the next four years, up from $4 million a year -- means that MSNBC thinks there's plenty to talk about. Monday night's special comment was to be directed against the Californians who voted to ban gay marriage. There's also a favorite Olbermann target, Bill O'Reilly.

"Bill just signed for four more years, thus guaranteeing me at least that much material," Olbermann said.

Olbermann said he's done a commentary that took Obama to task for his stance on an intelligence surveillance bill. He's also been hard on other Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and, in his first time on MSNBC during the second Clinton administration, Bill Clinton.

"The people who watched what I did on this network in 1998 would have been convinced that I was a borderline conservative that tended to criticize Democrats and their conduct in office," Olbermann said.
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