Updated 6:08 p.m. ET
Keith Olbermann filed suit against Current TV on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging the network breached his contract.
“After being enticed to leave MSNBC and come to Current with promises of editorial control, freedom from corporate influence and the professional support to produce a high-caliber political commentary show of the type his viewers have come to expect, Keith Olbermann was disheartened to discover Al Gore, Joel Hyatt and the management of Current are no more than dilettantes portraying entertainment industry executives,” the suit opens.
In the suit, Olbermann alleges that the network’s “dysfunction permeated all levels of the organization.”
The breaches of contract Olbermann alleges include:
- “Broadcasting advertisements containing Olbermann’s likeness without his consent.”
- “Using guest hosts for Olbermann’s Program without obtaining Olbermann’s approval.”
- “Refusing to allow Olbermann to exercise his contractually granted editorial control over special election coverage.”
- “Disclosing the confidential terms of the Agreement.
- “Linking Olbermann’s name and goodwill with corporate endorsement without his consent.”
- “Ignoring Olbermann’s consultation rights.”
- “Disparaging Olbermann publicly.”
- “Refusing to invest resources and hire appropriate personnel in order to professionally and competently produce the Program.”
The legal battle has been brewing since last Friday, when the progressive cable network cut ties with its star anchor, alleging Olbermann missed half of his working days in the months of January and February. In addition, according to a source familiar with the situation, Current fired Olbermann for “sabotaging the network” and “attacking Current and its executives.”
Olbermann denies Current’s accusations. In a statement after his ouster, Olbermann said “the truth of the ethics of Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt will come out.”
On the Late Show this week, Olbermann admitted that he “didn’t think the whole thing through” with Current TV, comparing the situation to a “$10 million chandelier” without a home. Olbermann’s contract was reportedly $50 million for five years.
“Well up to last Thursday I got my money,” Olbermann told Letterman on Tuesday. “The nice judge will decide whether or not I get more of my money.”
Olbermann’s lawyer, Patricia Glaser, represented Conan O’Brien when he was fired from NBC. A spokesman reached by TPM in Glaser’s office was not authorized to comment on the matter.
The lawsuit claims that Current still owes him between approximately $50 million and $70 million.
Read Olbermann’s complaint against Current below:
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com