MSNBC Extends Keith Olbermann's Contract

by Paul William Tenny

Keith Olbermann

I'm a bit of a cable news fiend my fix is Keith Olbermann's program on MSNBC during the week. I don't go there for the news of course, that's what newspapers and the Internet are for. It's entertainment and wit and interviews from a person I respect.

We have a mutual understanding, Keith and I, that there won't be any bull**** or spin that I have to put up with and in return, he gets to say what he really thinks on the important issues of our time. Though some of them have gotten stale, the special comments are truly one of the better things to have come out of cable news since cable news was born. This one on Prop 8 is the most moving and persuasive since the first one on Rumsfeld and Nevile Chamberlain.

So obviously I think it's really great news that NBC-Universal did something right for once. Two years into Olbermann's 4-year, four million per year contract, they shredded it and bumped his pay to $7.5 million per year through 2013.

This is a good sign that even though NBC-Universal is more concerned with the Republican party liking them than they are with producing the best news possible, it's obvious that they aren't oblivious to the value that Olbermann gives them. His show is still growing in the ratings and has semi-regularly beaten Fox in the demo even while constantly losing in overall viewers by a large margin. If given the opportunity, Fox would probably take that trade, though I'm not sure that Bill O'reilly would.

It would be wise for NBC News to give Olbermann some more air-time -- versus just MSNBC -- if he's really one of their most valuable properties. I could see him doing a segment during the nightly news on occasion or even heading up a Sunday show on NBC itself. And why not? If he's worth that kind of money, NBC needs to stretch it as far as they possible can.

Update 2010-10-08: If you're looking for current information on Keith Olbermann's suspension from MSNBC (November 2010), read this. The suspension didn't last very long.

in News, Television


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