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Keith Olbermann's Lawsuit Seeks $50M from Current TV

By Andrew Chow, Esq. on April 05, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Keith Olbermann's lawsuit claims his former employers at Current TV are -- to borrow the anchorman's catchphrase -- "the worst persons ... in the world!"

Current TV, a struggling cable channel, fired Olbermann last week after a long-running public dispute between the outspoken anchorman and Current's executives, including attorney Joel Hyatt and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

Olbermann threatened legal action, and has now followed up with a lawsuit filed Thursday afternoon in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The suit seeks $50 million to $70 million in damages, and rips into Current TV and its managers.

"After being enticed to leave MSNBC" -- where Olbermann's "Countdown" show gained a loyal following -- "Keith Olbermann was disheartened to discover Al Gore, Joel Hyatt, and the management of Current are no more than dilettantes portraying entertainment industry executives," his lawsuit states.

The suit also complains about production values on Current's version of "Countdown," including several incidents when studio lights allegedly went out. "Olbermann thought he had made a deal with a legitimate network and instead got an unprofessional cable-access show," his lawsuit states.

The main cause of action in Keith Olbermann's lawsuit is breach of contract. Olbermann had a five-year, $50 million deal with Current TV. But he claims Current violated the deal by terminating him without basis, disparaging him in the press, disclosing confidential contract terms, refusing to give him editorial control over election coverage, and using a substitute guest host whom Olbermann did not pre-approve.

But Current TV responded to Olbermann's "false and malicious lawsuit" in a statement, alluding to Olbermann's alleged failure to appear for anchoring duties on Super Tuesday: "We hope Mr. Olbermann understands that when it comes to the legal process, he is actually required to show up."

Keith Olbermann's lawsuit was filed Thursday. Under California law, the next step is serving the lawsuit -- making sure the other party has legal notice of the suit -- after which Current TV's lawyers will have 30 days to respond.

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