Report: Olby won't tell Current TV whether he'll anchor their New Hampshire coverage or not

Does anyone really care? According to the Hollywood Reporter, his Current show at 8 p.m. averaged 52,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo on December 15. Compare that to the numbers for the rest of cable news the same day. Joy Behar’s dopey show on Headline News more than doubled him despite airing two hours later in the evening and opposite a Republican debate on Fox News. Following this latest dumb Olby drama day to day is like tracking a contract dispute involving the clean-up hitter on a single-A farm team. Even lefty sites that think he’s “whip-smart” have had enough.

But we’re going to cover it anyway, aren’t we? For old times’ sake.

The plot of the bewildering, apparently one-sided dispute between Countdown host Keith Olbermann and Current TV is thinning as it thickens. A source at the network tells Mediaite that, despite the ominous Hollywood Reporter story that “lawyers” are discussing the dustup over Current’s Iowa Caucus coverage, Olbermann’s attorneys have not been in touch with the network on that matter. The source also says that the network has invited Olbermann to anchor Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary coverage, but has not gotten a response

[A]ccording to the network, Olbermann was more than “informed” about his absence from the schedule Tuesday night; he was responsible for it. A Current source confirmed to Mediaite that Olbermann was kept appraised of the Iowa Caucus plans at every turn, and acknowledged as much, in at least four or five emails dating back to mid-November. In those emails, Current executives tried to secure Olbermann’s participation in the program, as they have previously stated, but he refused

The half of the story that Olbermann isn’t telling (at least not yet) is why he feigned ignorance of the schedule change, an apparent game of chicken to force his disgruntlement into the public eye.

Remember, Olby told reporters last week that as far as he knew he’d be doing his show live on Tuesday night to track caucus results, then went so far as to tell a fan on Twitter on Tuesday that he was headed into the office to get ready. If you believe Mediaite’s sources at Current, that’s all a big, self-serving lie. And incidentally, it’s not just the Hollywood Reporter that claims lawyers are now involved. The Wrap has heard that too, and a whole lot more:

“I hope Keith is part of our future, but it’s up to Keith,” an executive with Current who declined to be identified told TheWrap. “Keith set us in the right direction and we’re on that path now … and as I’ve learned over the years, everybody is replaceable.”…

Current executives have tired of Olbermann’s controlling nature and his evident aversion to sharing the spotlight with recently-hired hosts Cenk Uygur and former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm.

How long senior management will tolerate what they term “Keith being Keith” remains to be seen…

For his part, Olbermann has tired of how slowly Current was building. Constant power outages aggravated the irascible anchor. Moreover, a spotty car service apparently had guests arriving late.

It sounds … so unlike him. Once Current pulls the plug, that’ll be four different networks he’s alienated; only CNN will be left among newsers, and they can’t be so crazy and desperate to think they can make it work when a left-wing network built around his star power couldn’t. So there are only two options. One: Go back to sportscasting. His bridges to ESPN are still smoldering as far as I know, but a rival network looking to cut in on ESPN’s market share might be willing to put up with his tantrums. Imagine the ratings and ballyhoo of Olby re-embracing his true talent of coming up with catchphrases to punctuate sports highlights. Two: He goes the Beck route and starts his own online network. There are bound to be a few hundred thousand Rethuglikkkan-haters out there willing to pay for the privilege of watching him rant — there are at least 52,000 in the demo who’ve somehow managed to find Current in their cable program guide — so why not solve the problem of not being able to get along with supervisors by eliminating supervisors? He could sift through lefty media and bring over Cenk and Kos and whoever else to pad out the schedule. Imagine: “The Media Matters News Hour.” There’s got to be a market for this. Current’s loss is YouTube’s gain!