According to Howard Kurtz at The Daily Beast, near the end of his Current TV tenure, Keith Olbermann was channeling a combination of Howard Hughes and the Gerber Baby, as opposed to some latter day Walter Winchell–though the fledgling network, Gore’s Current TV, hardly comes out looking much better based upon a series of email exchanges to which Kurtz was given access.
It sounds like a “mic check” at an Occupy event would have been out of the question near the end.
From Olbermann’s perspective, this was a period when he was battling a throat infection, and he was concerned that being on the air March 5 might cause him to lose his voice during three hours of live coverage the next evening. In fact, he was so concerned about his voice that he all but stopped speaking when he wasn’t on the air, forcing those around him to communicate with him by email.
Rosebud!When Olbermann was talking, fewer and fewer people were listening. A disastrous trend of losing viewers set in, with Olbermann blaming what is portrayed as an incompetent network, more akin to “cable access,” than a “cable news show,” according to quotes provided by Kurtz. Olbermann, once the big man on campus over at MSNBC, ended up more of a “Lord of the flies,” assuming any were stuck to the walls tuning in. One can imagine Al Gore cast as “Piggy,” though mostly the former Vice President appears to have remained aloof.
Olbermann never came close to the more than 1 million viewers he had averaged at MSNBC, but his Current show was drawing more than 100,000 in the prized 25-to-54 age group last summer–and that gradually dwindled to 30,000.
While Olbermann appears to have had a problem showing up for work, there’s also good reason to conclude that when he did, not much seemed to work right around what was supposed to be Current’s big show. Enter Eliot Spitzer, aka infamous Client number 9.
But the damage had been done. By month’s end, Olbermann would be replaced by Spitzer, who resigned as New York governor after a prostitution scandal and lost his short-lived CNN show last year.
Whether Spitzer is paying for the pleasure of taking over, or not, may be unclear. But since the audience dwindled so much over time, whatever the reasons, he could probably pay for viewers by the head and it wouldn’t cost him too much.
Olbermann refused to allow his staff to promote guest hosts despite his many absences; the lights ultimately fell from the sky, until finally someone pulled the plug without even allowing him to say goodbye.
If he isn’t quite the worst person in somebody’s world, clearly before it was over Keith Olbermann may have been hosting the worst show on the worst network and media play anyone has dreamt up in awhile.
To think that Current’s founder Al Gore once spent eight years a heartbeat away from the Presidency may be all it takes to convince a majority of Americans not to vote for a Democrat for President for years to come. Be sure to read it all and weep, … or not.
There seems to be little need to weep for Keith Olbermann; clearly he’s quite capable of crying enough for everyone, whether you’re a Current TV viewer or not.