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MSNBC Drops Olbermann

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Just days after Comcast was given the green light to take a majority stake in NBC Universal, MSNBC and Countdown host Keith Olbermann are parting ways.

The news network's biggest draw, Olbermann on Friday night abruptly announced that his time at MSNBC had come to an end. While he offered no insight into why he was leaving his post, Olbermann thanked viewers for supporting his "anti-establishment" show.

"There were many occasions, particularly in the last two-and-a-half years, where all that surrounded the show was just too much for me," Olbermann told viewers before signing off. "But your support and loyalty...required that I keep going."

In a statement issued by MSNBC, network president Phil Griffin confirmed that tonight's program would be Olbermann's last, before going on to wish the commentator well in his future endeavors.

Beginning Monday, the 10 p.m. show The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell will move into Olbermann's 8 p.m. time slot. Ed Schultz' program will jump to 10 p.m., and The Rachel Maddow Show will remain in its regular 9 p.m. slot.

Olbermann still had nearly two years remaining on his contract, as both sides had come to terms on a four-year, $30 million extension in November 2008. Per terms of his buy-out, Olbermann is prohibited from accepting a full-time post at a rival network for the near term.

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