Keith Olbermann: 'I Screwed Up'

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Recently unemployed news anchor Keith Olbermann stopped by The Late Show with David Letterman last night to give his first public, non-Twitter explanation for what went wrong on Current TV. Olbermann, you may recall, was fired last week after what amounted to a year-long unhappy marriage at the struggling network. To celebrate, Letterman presented him with an "adjustable business card" that allows him to easily switch network affiliation. (See the video below.)

In his typical style, Olbermann found a way to mock the network without being overtly critical or directly insulting any of the people behind it. He also admitted his complicity in the situation via a nice backhanded compliment to himself. He began the discussion of the situation by confessing "I screwed up" and adding that "It's my fault that it didn't succeed." The reason it was his fault, though, is because he's smart enough that he should have known that Current had no idea what it was doing.
The metaphor he used to describe the failure was that it was like buying a $10 million chandelier without owning a house to put it in. But not only did they not have a house, they didn't even have a lot for the house or "a building permit." Letterman helped out any confused audience members by asking, "You're the chandelier?"

Later on, Olbermann admitted that he felt the entire project was doomed almost from the very beginning and that he considered "bailing" as early last July. (His show debuted on June 20.)

He reiterated that part of the problem with the infamous car service debacle was that at least one company stopped picking him up because they hadn't been paid by the network. Olbermann also claimed that the show had on-air power outages due to unpaid electric bills and that reason he missed significant time on the air was because he was ordered by a doctor to not talk for five days because of a throat problem. All this after saying that he doesn't like airing his dirty laundry, but does so because, "You never hear me complain, you hear people saying I complain."

Finally, Olbermann suggested that he's still working on a lawsuit to get the remainder of contract paid out and that he's hired the same lawyer Conan O'Brien used during his dispute with NBC over The Tonight Show.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.