As many of our readers undoubtedly know, Keith Olbermann, the self-proclaimed $10 million chandelier of Current TV, was recently fired. In the roughly two weeks since, there has been a lot of talk from both sides about breach of contract, with Olbermann contending that Current is in breach, while Current contends it was Olbermann who breached. Olbermann has now fired the first shot in court. TheFactFile.com has obtained a copy of Olbermann’s April 5, 2012 filing in The Superior Court of California for Los Angeles County (Case number BC482335). In the complaint, Olbermann—who is requesting a jury trial—alleges breach of contract and breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. Olbermann is seeking “monetary damages…including all monies owed…consequential damages, and interest thereon.” According to the complaint, this is between $50 million and $70 million. To put that in other terms, Olbermann is seeking enough money to buy 5 to 7 chandeliers.
While we have no idea how the case will progress, the complaint itself is an entertaining read and we highly recommend getting a copy. In parts, it reads like a mystery novel, in others it is reminiscent of some of Olbermann’s best “Special Comments.” In one particularly thrilling section, we learn “(Joel) Hyatt…attempted to isolate Olbermann from his professional representatives in an awkward attempt to form a close personal friendship with his new star.” Later we learn that “the problems began almost immediately. Hyatt attempted to run the network as a personal hobbyhorse….(and) behaved as if he had just paid Olbermann to become his puppet instead of Chief News Officer of the network.” The intrigue does not stop there, as we also learn of alleged blackmail: “Hyatt blackmailed Olbermann into agreeing to put himself in a position that no other major talent in the entertainment or news industries has been forced into in decades: fending for himself without benefit of hired advisors….Olbermann left the meeting devastated at having discovered he was working for a blackmailer.” Perhaps the most alarming accusation in the complaint comes in regard to Al Gore, “it is both sad and ironic that a channel owned and founded by Al Gore, for the stated purpose of creating an independent perspective, free from the control of large corporate interests, restricted the rights of its most celebrated commentator and Chief News Officer to fully broadcast his opinions over, of all things, the internet.”
Once we get a trial date, we will let you know so you can program your DVR.