“On Thursday, NBC’s news division staged an elaborate presentation for advertisers, seeking to sell commercial time in NBC’s news programs over the next year. All the members of MSNBC’s prime-time lineup spoke at the lunch with one exception: Keith Olbermann, the network’s biggest star.

For the last several weeks, Mr. Olbermann and the network have been in negotiations to end his successful run on MSNBC, according to executives involved in the talks who requested anonymity because the talks were confidential. The deal was completed on Friday, and Mr. Olbermann made the announcement on his final ‘Countdown’ hours later…

“One executive, who asked not to be identified because Comcast had instructed employees not speak about the situation, said the company dreaded the prospect of being blamed if Mr. Olbermann were to quit soon after the takeover.”

“Keith Olbermann’s exit from MSNBC appeared abrupt to viewers of his show, but the talk-show host and his network were involved ‘in a relationship that’s been failing for a long time,’ an NBC Universal executive said Saturday…

“But the NBC Universal executive characterized it as a mutual parting of the ways, with Olbermann taking the first step. The executive spoke on condition of anonymity because settlement talks were kept confidential…

“While he disagreed with most everything Olbermann said, ‘he had probably the best-produced show on television,’ Bozell said. That’s the danger for MSNBC and liberals — Olbermann may be replaced by someone who has the same viewpoints, but not necessarily with a show people are as eager to watch.”

“Here’s how it went down. Sources familiar with the situation tell us that Olbermann’s agent recently went to NBC complaining that Keith — who has the most popular show on MSNBC — was underpaid at $7 million per year. NBC execs told Olbermann’s agent they would not cough up anymore money.

“Network execs were well aware that Comcast wanted Keith gone because he was ‘a loose cannon that could not be controlled.’ It became clear to both sides that Olbermann’s days were numbered and they began negotiating an exit…

“Our sources say Olbermann will, however, reappear soon with a presence on the Internet.”

“The gadfly commentator first told the network last April that he wanted to leave and began negotiating his exit then, according to an individual with knowledge of the situation…

“With two years left on his $7 million a year contract, Olbermann was seeking a full exit package but he really has his eye on creating his own media empire in the style of Huffington Post, according to the individual. That way, Olbermann would control his own brand and, in his view, potentially earn far more as an owner.”

“Go to Fox News: Yes, it sounds insane (for both sides). But think about it. Every other lightweight ‘liberal’ that Fox tries to toss on the air to make things ‘fair and balanced’ has no real gravitas. Olbermann? When it comes to television, he is the voice of the left. There’s your balance (screw fair – nobody with a brain that hasn’t been pickled by Kool-Aid believes that nonsense). Can you image what kind of ratings Death Star would be created if he joined Fox News? It would turn MSNBC to dust and leave CNN so much further behind in the ratings that it would be battling BET for numbers. It would also allow Roger Ailes to lord it over every liberal in this country and he might swallow whatever pride he has about Olbermann to have that kind of club at his disposal.

“And – wait for it – it would be the most audacious reach across the aisle in television history. The left would have to actually tune their television to Fox News to find Olbermann. And the right would have to suffer through all those promos for his show – like sizzle reel Kryptonite – before settling in on Bill O’Reilly. A nation heals.

“And, seriously, who wouldn’t want to watch O’Reilly and Olbermann toss to each other every night? It would be a sneer and snark fest for the ages.”

“OlbermannWatch’s work may be done but Olbermann comes out on top…

“Today, for the first time since 2003, Keith Olbermann no longer has a TV show. He is no longer considered a News Anchor at NBC. For NBC News, however, it is too late. The reputation of the news division is left in tatters. MSNBC is nothing but a far-left outpost for the lunatic fringe. The broadcast news operation a fading shadow on a fourth place network — fifth if you consider the nights when Fox News beats NBC News coverage of special events like the State of the Union Address or the national political conventions.

“And in that sense, Keith won. He wanted to turn NBC News into liberal alternative to Fox News. He succeeded.