No, Comcast Didn’t Fire Keith Olbermann

By Alex Weprin 

Given the timing, the same week that the federal government approved Comcast’s takeover of NBC Universal, much of the speculation surrounding MSNBC host Keith Olbermann’s departure has focused on the new bosses.

Very late Friday night, Comcast released a statement saying that it was in no way involved with Olbermann’s departure.

“Comcast has not closed the transaction for NBC Universal and has no operational control at any of its properties including MSNBC. We pledged from the day the deal was announced that we would not interfere with NBC Universal’s news operations. We have not and we will not.”

That is in line with what TVNewser has heard, namely that Comcast had no intention of making any major changes to MSNBC–at least in the short term– after acquiring the company.

Despite other media reports (we’re looking at you, TMZ) Comcast does not yet have the authority to fire anyone at NBC, let alone MSNBC’s top-rated host. That having been said, it is possible that MSNBC management made the decision, and concerns over what Comcast might do down the line played a role.

So who instigated the split, MSNBC or Olbermann? We may have to wait to find out.