Keith Olbermann: Issues With Management Didn’t Stop Them From Hiring Me Back (Or trying To)

By Alex Weprin 

At the Paid Content 2011 conference this afternoon, Current Media chief news officer and soon-to-be 8 PM host Keith Olbermann sat on a panel with Current co-founder Joel Hyatt.

Among the topics of conversation was management, as Olbermann–who has a reputation for not always getting along with his bosses–is now a boss himself, as a member of the network’s senior team.

“I want to apologize for half of the things I have said about management ever,” Olbermann quipped. He went on to throw some cold water on the idea that his arguments with management at previous jobs precluded him from gaining employment at those companies again.


“I have had nine full time employers, over 32 years,” he said. “Three of them have later on in my career hired me back full time. Another one hired me back freelance, two other employers were in serious negotiations to bring me back.

“I might be trouble but apparently in a good way,” he added.

While he did not discuss any of his prior employers specifically, he did have a few choice words for the media in general:

“We are moving in a time when corporations are looking at news product as very valuable resources that need to be maximized, and one way to maximize them is to cut off all the rough edges and the bumps and all the things that make them interesting and worthwhile. All the reporting, ultimately,” he said.

Neither Hyatt nor Olbermann spilled the beans on the name of the show, or when it would premiere on Current beyond “Late Spring,” but Hyatt did explain what he and co-founder Al Gore’s pitch to Olbermann was:

“We are going to take Keith Olbermann’s brand, which you only know from a TV show, and provide his insightful commentary on every platform known to man,” Hyatt said.

Olbermann himself started a small web presence in the form of his FOK News Channel website and Twitter feed, and he says he has no plans to expand it, beyond adding a regular video segment.

So why not pull a Glenn Beck and start his own media company?

“When we get the show on the air we expect to have that show fully running, and fully operational and competitive in its field,” Olbermann said. “I did not want to have to go into an environment in which I had to build every piece of equipment by myself.

“This is not scratch by any stretch of the imagination. With any kind of continuing growth, we will be in a position to be seen in as many homes as any other news broadcast in this country,” he added.