Keith Olbermann, the anchor of “Countdown,” will remain at MSNBC through the next presidential election season, the cable news channel announced Monday afternoon.
The announcement came less than two years into Mr. Olbermann’s current four-year deal. MSNBC essentially tore up his Feb. 2007 contract (reportedly worth up to $4 million a year) and wrote a new one, according to two employees with knowledge of the agreement. The new contract is valued at about $7.5 million a year, one of the people said.
Mr. Olbermann will continue to anchor “Countdown” and co-host NBC’s “Football Night in America.” Reinforcing Mr. Olbermann’s value to MSNBC, the network said he would “play a prominent role” in “all major news events.”
Mr. Olbermann has anchored “Countdown,” the most popular program on MSNBC, since 2003. The program now draws more viewers than CNN in the 8 p.m. time slot. “I’m delighted that we can continue to lock Countdown into the nation’s political dialogue through at least the next election,” Mr. Olbermann said in a statement. “Personally, I noticed that as of about six weeks ago, I’d been doing this show longer than I did ‘SportsCenter,’ so it’s delightful to have a true home.”
In September, The New York Times reported that NBC Universal, the parent company of MSNBC, was in talks to extend Mr. Olbermann’s contract through 2013.
Appearing on “The View” Monday morning, Mr. Olbermann addressed a question on the minds of many: after years of Bush administration critiques, what will “Countdown” consist of now that a Democrat is about to enter the White House?
“We’re switching to all Mariah Carey as of tonight,” Mr. Olbermann joked.