Rachel Maddow reportedly spiked Keith Olbermann’s return to MSNBC
By Matt Collins Article may include affiliate links
According to Daily Beast sources, Olbermann was in advanced discussions with NBCU execs to return to the network.
Olbermann previously hosted “Countdown” from 2003 to 2011, which grew to become one of the network’s highest rated shows and also set the stage for its more liberal voice.
After Olbermann abruptly left MSNBC, “Countdown” resurfaced on Current but ended again in 2012.
According to what Olbermann told The Daily Beast, the deal was progressing when Maddow stepped in and squashed it.
In the summer of 2021, Maddow signed a deal with NBC worth a reported $30 million a year that lets her stop appearing daily on her namesake and top rated show while being able to pursue other projects within the NBCU universe.
The deal was widely seen as an effort to prevent her from jumping to another network or striking out on her own to create a media brand that could suck away MSNBC viewers.
“I offered to have her production company ‘produce’ the show. Would give her some proxy control and a fuckton of money but she and (former MSNBC president who is now helping run Maddow’s production arm) Phil Griffin refused,” Olbermann told The Daily Beast, also claiming the network offered in a chance to return in 2016.
Many note that Maddow’s TV success is largely thanks to Olbermann, who credits himself with encouraging her to branch out from her Air Media radio deal and sign on at MSNBC.
Olbermann worked for MSNBC twice, once from 1997 to 1998 and again for his wildly successful 2003 to 2011 run. Originally a sports journalist, he has also worked for ESPN for three separate stints as well as Fox Sports. He also hosted a GQ web series.