So it begins...

Keith Olbermann has been countersued by Current TV, who claims he rarely showed up for work in an attempt to sabotage the network.

Current TV has filed a countersuit in its war with Keith Olbermann ... claiming the "Countdown" host got his walking papers, in part, because he BARELY showed up to work.  

In the docs, filed in L.A. County Superior Court, Current TV claims Olbermann missed 19 out of 41 work days in January and February in his attempt to "sabotage" the network.

Current also claims Olbermann once smashed a glass mug on the set. Earlier this week, an email emerged in which a Current employee detailed the incident ... voicing concerns that other employees could've slipped on the water or could have been cut by the shards.

Current also says Olbermann was a crappy employee ... and got the chop due to "serial, material breaches of his contract, including the failure to show up at work, sabotaging the network and attacking Current and its executives."

A rep for the network added, "As the old adage says: 'When the law is on your side, you argue the law. When the facts are on your side, you argue the facts. When neither the law nor the facts are on your side, you pound the table.'"

He continues, "We will be happy to engage on the law and the facts in the appropriate forum. It is well established that over his professional career Mr. Olbermann has specialized in pounding the table."

The network concludes with one final shot ... "We hope Mr. Olbermann understands that when it comes to the legal process, he is actually required to show up."

As we previously reported, Olbermann filed his lawsuit against the network yesterday ... demanding between $50 mil and $70 mil in unpaid compensation.

In the lawsuit, filed in L.A. and obtained by TMZ, Keith says, "After being enticed to leave MSNBC and come to Current with promise of editorial control, freedom from corporate influence and the professional support to produce a high-caliber political commentary show of the type his viewers have come to expect, Keith Olbermann was disheartened to discover Al Gore, Joel Hyatt and the management of Current are no more than dilettantes portraying entertainment industry executives."

Olbermann claims his "public termination" last week was "the latest in a series of increasingly erratic and unprofessional actions undertaken by Current's senior management."

Keith alleges Current was so dysfunctional and broke after the network's first 8 months on the air, Current "still couldn't manage to, literally, keep the lights on."

Olbermann is suing for breach of contract, sabotage and disparagement.

In the suit, Keith lists the following gripes with the network:

-- broadcasting ads containing Keith's image without his consent
-- using guest hosts for "Countdown" without Keith's approval
-- refusing to give Keith editorial control over special election coverage
-- disclosing the confidential terms of his contract
-- linking Keith's name and goodwill with corporate endorsements without his consent
-- disparaging Keith publicly
-- refusing Keith's request to stream segments from his show on his website
-- refusing to invest resources in the show

The lawsuit also contains a reference to an email from Current TV President David Bohrman, in which Bohrman admits "the 33rd street studio [where Keith's show was filmed] is never going to be a professional facility. We are paying for a Porsche [the studio] and getting a Yugo [a notoriously crappy car]."

In his suit, Olbermann claims Current still owes him between $50 million and $70 million worth of cash and equity compensation.

After he was fired, Olbermann complained about how Current TV was being managed while he worked for the network -- telling David Letterman, Current was a "ragtag operation" that couldn't afford him.

Al Gore -- the network's co-founder -- released a vague statement after firing Olbermann, claiming they let Keith go because he was disrespectful and disloyal to viewers.

This gonna be good, getting my popcorn ready.

sources 1, 2, 3 (post is a combination of a few articles from the past couple of days)
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