Keith Olbermann has settled his $50 million lawsuit with Current TV, bringing an end to the almost year-long legal dispute over the outspoken host’s dismissal from the liberal news network.
The terms of the settlement, which was reported earlier this week, were not released. But two sources familiar with the negotiations now tell POLITICO that during the mediation stage, Olbermann’s legal representatives cited his inability to get a job at another network — a move one source close to the negotiations interpreted as an effort to gain sympathy for Olbermann.
“One of the cards his people played was hardship,” the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told POLITICO. “He spent last fall talking to all the major networks, and he couldn’t get a job. The idea was, this could be the last money he ever earned.”
The source said Olbermann’s lawyers used this as “a bargaining chip” to “appeal to the sympathy” of Current TV executives, but said it was unclear if that factored into Current TV’s decision to agree to a settlement.
Olbermann did not respond to a request for comment regarding the discussion; his manager Michael Price declined to comment, citing confidentiality. Current TV spokesperson Tony Fox also declined to comment, citing confidentiality.
POLITICO has confirmed that Olbermann approached numerous cable and broadcast news channels, including ABC News, in pursuit of a job while still on contract with Current TV. Olbermann has also approached non-news networks, including ESPN and AMC, the channel that broadcasts “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” sources told POLITICO.