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UPDATE: It's officially on. Keith Olbermann and Current TV have each filed a lawsuit against the other, claiming breach of contract.
Olbermann alleges "erratic and unprofessional actions" on the part of senior management at the network, reports Bloomberg. The pundit, who was fired last month, asked for $50 million in damages.
Current TV responded on Friday with its own lawsuit that accuses Olbermann of disclosing terms of his contract without permission, taking days off, and refusing to promote his show, reports the Associated Press.
Current TV says Olbermann's comments have damaged the network and is seeking unspecified damages. "Current seeks a determination that it is no longer obligated to pay a dime to Mr. Olbermann who, having already been paid handsomely for showing up sporadically and utterly failing to keep his end of the bargain, now seeks to be paid tens of millions more for not working at all," notes the suit that clearly doesn't mince words.
Thursday, April 5: Current TV might be in danger of losing its spot on Time Warner Cable because of low ratings, a fear sparked by the network's decision to part ways with Keith Olbermann, Reuters reports.
Sources tell the news outlet that Time Warner has the right to drop the left-leaning network if it fails to reach specific ratings benchmarks in two consecutive quarters, something that could happen if the network doesn't find a way to compensate for Olberman's departure. The unnamed insiders tell Reuters that if Current misses the ratings mark in one quarter, it would be forced to boost its marketing and promotion budget as part of the contract.
Last week, Current fired Olbermann, prompting the ex-MSNBC host to respond with a lawsuit and many television observers to wonder aloud if the network will be able to retain the liberal pundit's viewers. Being dropped by a major cable provider like Time Warner would no doubt be a serious setback for the still fledgling network.
Current execs had hoped that former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer would help pick up the slack, but his new show brought in less than half of Olbermann's audience during its debut, raising concerns about whether he'll be able to fill Olbermann's ratings footprint. (Note: Spitzer is a Slate contributer).
For its part, Current denied the report that they are in trouble, telling the Hollywood Reporter that they "are not at any risk of losing any of our distribution agreements" but declining to elaborate on its carriage contracts.