Keith Olbermann Explains His Decision to Retire From Political Punditry
Olbermann told THR that he never planned to continue his 'Resistance' video series this long.
Keith Olbermann on Monday announced that he's had enough, and is ending his Donald Trump-focused digital video series for GQ after two seasons and 187 episodes.
Olbermann began the series in September 2016, about two months before the presidential election. He said Monday's episode of The Resistance With Keith Olbermann would be the last because he's more confident than ever that Trump's presidency will end in either impeachment or resignation.
The former MSNBC and ESPN star also announced in the episode that he's quitting the political punditry game entirely. In a brief email interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Olbermann said he wanted to be clear with his viewers about his decision to step away from the craft that made him famous. "To not be specific about that is to leave people in doubt about why there isn’t a new video or tweet," he said.
Asked whether he had always been planning to end the series — originally called The Closer — on Monday, Olbermann said: "The plan was for them to stop on November 9, 2016. So much for plans!" Olbermann, in a follow-up email, clarified that the decision to end the series was his alone, "as was my right."
He did not respond to a request about what he plans to do next, and a spokesperson for GQ confirmed that he is not discussing his future plans.
While Olbermann said on Monday's episode that he's been doing the show for free ("for charity"), he's had a contract with GQ, according to a person familiar with the arrangement. Olbermann's contract with GQ was "loose" and did not dictate how many episodes he would make or how long he would work on the series.
Asked whether he enjoyed working with GQ on the project, Olbermann pointed out that the Nov. 16 episode of the show reached 54 million people on Facebook (according to SocialFlow data) and said that "the numbers speak for themselves."
While the series has helped bring Olbermann back into the political-media spotlight, to some degree, he said it has not been fun to chronicle the Trump administration. "Frankly, I have not enjoyed one minute of it," Olbermann said Monday. "As, I'm certain, it has also been for you, for me it has been unadulterated pain and revulsion and horror."