Keith Olbermann settles lawsuit against Current TV

Keith Keith Olbermann has resolved the $50 million legal dispute with Current TV over his firing from the network, a well-placed source tells The Hollywood Reporter.

A settlement is said to have been reached during a private mediation session in San Francisco on Tuesday. Terms of the deal will not be disclosed. Olbermann and Current, who sued each other in April 2012 over his dismissal from the liberal-leaning network, are expected to file court documents soon dismissing the case.

On Wednesday, Olbermann and Current TV released a joint statement to THR: "The parties are pleased to announce that a settlement has occurred, and that the terms are confidential. Nothing more will be disclosed regarding the settlement."

The move comes days after Olbermann filed extensive summary judgment motions in advance of a May trial date in Los Angeles Superior Court. Olbermann claims he was improperly terminated without cause from his Countdown show a year into his five-year, $50 million contract with the network. He argues that Current and its co-founders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt also trashed him in the press, used his name and image in connection with a commercial for AT&T and denied him editorial control over specific shows.

Current has called the allegations "false and malicious," arguing that Olbermann breached his contract by, among other things, failing to show up for work on several occasions and revealing his salary to THR and the Wall Street Journal. Gore and Hyatt sold Current for $500 million in January to the owners of the Al Jazeera news organization, and it is unclear what role that sale played in the mediation with Olbermann. Al Jazeera executives have said they hope to launch a U.S.-based news outlet this summer on the former Current network.

Olbermann is represented by Patty Glaser, Jill Basinger and Garland Kelley at L.A.'s Glaser Weil Fink Jacobs Howard Avchen & Shapiro. Current is repped by a team at L.A.'s Paul Weiss firm.

Al Jazeera America will probably not hire Keith Olbermann

Al Jazeera America is preparing for its July launch with no shortage of job applicants. Last week the network’s executive director of internal operations said there were nearly 20,000 applications for its initial 170 job openings.

What Al Jazeera America is looking for next is a star to help it stand out…

“It would be very helpful for us to have a couple of names that have been recognized and people say, ‘Oh, they have gone over to them. I should give it a look,’” Bob Wheelock, executive producer for the Americas for Al Jazeera English, told The Daily Beast. “Americans like to know who is on at what time. We need to find people who are known, but we want them to be known for their journalism, not for their celebrity, not for their past failure, not for their messy divorce.”


Keith Olbermann was in Los Angeles on Friday being deposed for a reported $70 million lawsuit he filed against his most recent employer, Current TV, with the trial expected to begin in May. Whether the court rules in favor of Olbermann or the network, the verdict will put an official end to a one-year stint at Current that was supposed to last at least five.

Keith Olbermann worked at ESPN from 1992 to 1997.

But as one door closes, another has been quietly approached. At various times over the last year, Olbermann and his representatives have expressed interest in his return to the employer that made him famous: ESPN.

Olbermann’s expressions of interest included dinner at New York’s Four Seasons Restaurant with John Skipper, ESPN’s president.

“Keith Olbermann, both personally and through a couple people I know, reached out to say, ‘Gee, I would love to have dinner,’ ” Skipper said. “I agreed to dinner with Keith because I assumed he’d be provocative and witty and fun to have dinner with, and he was indeed lots of fun. We talked sports and politics, and we had a nice chat. He is very interesting.

“Clearly he was looking to see if there was an entry point to come back.”

Olbermann declined to discuss the details of the conversation.

“I had the privilege to spend some time with John Skipper,” he said. “His vision and charm were readily apparent, and judging by his leadership, his family name was prophetic.”


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