According to a report, Keith Olbermann lobbied MSNBC executives to get him back on the left-leaning cable network and replace Chris Hayes in prime time.
Olbermann made the pitch in a February 2020 email correspondence with Jeff Shell, the CEO of NBCUniversal, the Comcast media conglomerate whose portfolio includes MSNBC.
In the email, which was first reported by Puck News (Paywall).Olbermann urged Shell to consider a revival of “Countdown,” the primetime news program the former ESPN SportsCenter anchor hosted during George W. Bush’s presidency after the Iraq war.
Olbermann was fired from MSNBC over a decade ago, ending a turbulent relationship that included suspensions and public disappointments.
Olbermann told Shell that while MSNBC is financially healthy due to the success of The Rachel Maddow Show, its ratings during the Hayes-hosted 8 p.m. hour have suffered.
“There is only one conclusion: MSNBC is pathetically underperforming in prime time,” Olbermann wrote.
“And that while being obscured by the amount of money [‘The Rachel Maddow Show’] For you, the current 8 p.m. hour is the cause.
Olbermann added, “Finally, to twist the wonderful line of ‘Chinatown,’ your 8 p.m. show is dying of thirst during a flood.”
A spokesperson for MSNBC told The Post, “There was never any serious thought about Keith Olberman returning.”
Olbermann offered to take a relatively lower base salary, but insisted on incentives and bonuses in his contract that would materialize if his show delivered the ratings he promised, according to Puck News.
Earlier this week, it was reported that Olbermann was in talks with Shell and NBCUniversal news chairman Cesar Conde about a possible return to host a show during Maddow’s 9 p.m. time slot.
When Maddow learned that Olbermann was keen on her performance, she reportedly stepped in and vetoed the idea. according to the Daily Beast.
“I offered to let her production company ‘produce’ the show. Would give her some proxy control and a lot of money but her and [former MSNBC boss-turned-consultant to Maddow’s production company] Phil Griffin declined,” Olbermann told the Daily Beast, claiming that the network also offered him a show in 2016.
“I do not expect to continue negotiations with the successors of this management team,” he added.
“Leadership is worse than sleeping at the desk.”
Employees have panicked under new network president Rashida Jones, who is yet to name a replacement for Maddow, who recently signed a massive $30 million deal to work less and stop her nightly broadcast.
Olbermann, who was once Maddow’s mentor, was banned from MSNBC in 2011 after his relationship with Griffin was reportedly strained.
In the 8 pm ratings race for cable news, Hayes’ show All In consistently trailed Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, despite outperforming Anderson Cooper’s programming on CNN.
https://nypost.com/2022/03/17/keith-olbermann-lobbied-msnbc-to-have-him-replace-chris-hayes-report/ Keith Olbermann lobbied at MSNBC for him to replace Chris Hayes: report