MSNBC was deep into talks to bring back former host Keith Olbermann to primetime, but Rachel Maddow killed the idea to name him as her replacement.
Maddow has announced she will exit her weeknight program to focus on other projects with the network. Olbermann was suspended in 2010 for donating to Democratic candidates’ campaigns and left in 2011.
“I offered to have her production company ‘produce’ the show. Would give her some proxy control and a fuckton of money but she and [former MSNBC chief-turned-consultant to Maddow’s production company] Phil Griffin refused,” Olbermann told the Daily Beast. “I do not expect to continue negotiations with the successors to this management team,” he added. “Management is worse than asleep at the switch.”
Maddow is a former protege of Olbermann’s, who helped her rise from an Air America Radio host to an MSNBC powerhouse. But while the two were friendly when they were employed at the same network, the relationship has grown distant recently.
Out reporter Steve Kornacki has also tiptoed out of his friendship with Olbmermann, the former host claimed recently.
“The bottom line for me is I contributed to their success and I was correct in my assessment. If I have any animosity toward it, it is that many of them have washed me out of their past in order to make it look like I did not have any influence in getting them to where they are,” Olbermann complained to the BBC in 2019.
“Why do you think they did that?” the show’s host asked Olbermann.
“Well, that’s another aspect of what makes people successful in this business,” he replied. “If you acknowledge the degree to which you are beholden to others, you are somehow seen as weak. The Rachel Maddow story was that after I left, she was mad at me for leaving because it meant that she could not pass me in the ratings at MSNBC and prove better than her mentor.”