“I think the same fantasy has popped into the head of everybody in my business who has ever been told what I’ve been told, that this is going to be the last edition of your show,” Olbermann says during his final episode. “You go directly to the scene from the movie ‘Network,’ complete with the pajamas and the raincoat, and you go off on an existential otherworldly verbal journey of unutterable profundity and vision. You damn the impediments, and you insist upon the insurrections, and then you emit Peter Finch’s gutteral, resonant, “So,” and you implore, you will the viewer to go to the window, open it, stick out his head and yell… well, you know the rest.”
For those of you who got lost in that thesaurus, “the rest” is the classic line: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”
“In the mundane world of television goodbyes, reality is laughably uncooperative,” Olbermann continues. “When I resigned from ESPN thirteen and a half years ago, I was literally given 30 seconds to say goodbye at the very end of my last edition of SportsCenter. As God as my witness, in the commercial break just before the emotional moment, the producer got into my earpiece and he said, ‘Um, can you cut it down to 15 seconds so we can get in this tennis result?’
“So I’m grateful that I have a little more time to sign off, here. Regardless, this is the last edition of ‘Countdown.'”
Olbermann, who has been at MSNBC for 8 years now, was initially only supposed to fill in for a three day stint, but wound up signing a contract to do the nightly 8 p.m. broadcast. His show, he proudly states, “established itself as anti-establishment.”
There’s no denying the broad nature of Olbermann’s show – he notes that he’s covered everything from the “Mission Accomplished” stagecraft to PFC Jessica Lynch’s rescue, and more. Olbermann says that the controversy surrounding the show was occasionally “too much” for him, but that he was inspired by fans and viewers to carry on.
“My gratitude to you is boundless,” he tells viewers at home, emphasizing the emotional comfort that fans’ donations to the National Association of Free Clinics gave him and his dying father.
“This may be the only television program wherein the host was more in awe of the audience than vice versa,” he continues. “You will always be in my heart for that, and for the donations to the Cranick family in Tennessee, and these victims of governmental heartlessness in Arizona, to say nothing of every letter and email and tweet and wave and handshake and online petition.” Olbermann thanked his staff by name and finished his goodbye with a gracious thanks to the late Tim Russert.
MSNBC’s statement, of course, was considerably shorter:
“MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast
of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” will be this evening. MSNBC thanks
Keith for his integral role in MSNBC’s success and we wish him well in
his future endeavors.”
Weigh in, Zap2it readers. Will you miss Olbermann? Do you think he was too controversial for MSNBC? What are your most memorable “Countdown” moments?