Verrrrry curious. His contract’s not up; he negotiated a release with management, effective … immediately. What’s going on? The cryptic money line:

Some leaders in the media, politics and business have been urging me to go beyond my role here at CNN and engage in constructive problem-solving.

Fox denies having talked to Dobbs, but he and Roger Ailes had a confab over dinner in September. Ailes’s game is straightforward: Boost Fox Business’s profile by bringing in big-name stars like Imus and John Stossel — and Dobbs. That has to be what this is about, no? Or is Dobbs thinking … bigger?

Exit quotation from an amusingly pissy TNR, shivering at the prospect of a Beck/Dobbs convergence at top-rated FNC: “By keeping Dobbs on CNN–where he had about 650,000 viewers–Klein was protecting the rest of us. Consider CNN like a quarantine for dangerously demagogic talk show hosts.”