Media Blog

Howard Kurtz on the Olbermann-MSDNC ‘War’

MSDNC’s Phil Griffin called it a “war,” not me. Kurtz writes:

Keith Olbermann was having dinner with his manager at an Upper East Side restaurant, chewing over their battle to lift his suspension at MSNBC, when Phil Griffin called.   

Michael Price stepped out of the Atlantic Grill to talk to MSNBC’s president, leaving his client with a platter of 18 oysters. It was Sunday, Nov. 7, and Price informed Griffin that if they couldn’t resolve their differences quickly, Olbermann would take his complaints public by accepting invitations from Good Morning America, David Letterman, and Larry King. 

“Why are you putting us in the position where you’re daring us to do this?” Price demanded, his voice rising.   

“If you go on GMA, I will fire Keith,” Griffin shot back. Such a move was clearly grounds for dismissal.   

The manager returned to the restaurant. He and Olbermann, who had been pushing hard to end the suspension the next day, discussed whether they would be burning bridges by carrying out the threat. Minutes later, their phones buzzed with emails from reporters, asking about a statement that NBC had just released. Olbermann, it said, would be allowed to return to his prime-time show on Tuesday—a day later than he had wanted.   

Price called Griffin again. “What compelled you to do that in that way?” he asked.   

“We are at war,” Griffin responded. 

War of the egomaniacs, maybe. The rest here.

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