When Keith "Uberdork" Olbermann signed off at MSNBC last week, one of his colleagues burst into tears -- of joy. A network spy said Ed Schultz welled up with happy tears when he learned Olbermann was booted and that he'd be moved to the better 10 p.m. time slot as part of a resulting program shuffle. Schultz, who's known for random outbursts, such as when he yelled at staff, "I'm going to torch this [bleeping] place!" was told to ditch his "psycho-talk" segment in his new time. He said through an MSNBC rep, "You have me confused with John Boehner."Speaking of Olberdork, we may finally have the reason for his precipitous slide into looneyland.
In the end, it wasn't Keith Olbermann's wacko politics, bipolar tantrums, or the Comcast takeover that set his MSNBC career on a collision course with an iceberg.Hot Air links. Thanks!
It was Ben Affleck.
A source formerly with the cable network said the end began in April 2009, when Rachel Maddow booked Hollywood's darling to appear on her show. Olbermann wanted the star for himself on "Countdown."
It was the first battle Keith didn't win.
"In protest, he refused to go on the air," said the ex-colleague.
It wasn't his first meltdown. A year and a half earlier, MSNBC had moved studios from the Jersey boonies to Rockefeller Center. When Olbermann discovered that his new office door had a built-in window, he went ballistic, phoning network President Phil Griffin and threatening to walk.
"I mean literally, Andrea. Over the door!" said the source. "Keith made such a fit about it. He was ugly and mean. But no one came to his defense.
"Part of me feels sorry for him. He can't blame alcoholism. That was just a normal thing for him to throw tantrums." The door was replaced.
But it begs the question: Can Keith Olbermann be saved? Or, like Norma Desmond, will he fade, screaming, into the sunset?
After he lost Affleck, Olbermann staged a three-day sickout. He later claimed that he vanished from the air to mourn his mother (and attend baseball games). But Olbermann's mom died nearly two weeks earlier, CityFile reported, and he didn't miss a day of work. Until Ben.
Last April, Olbermann went nuts when Donny Deutsch was hired as a guest host on MSNBC. He got Deutsch bumped.
"Donny was p- - -ed," said a source.
Shortly after that, Olbermann first proposed walking away from more than two years on his $7 million-a-year contract, as The Post reported. Then, just as suddenly, he stayed put. In November, he was suspended two days for making political contributions. But he never apologized. He truly believed he was being persecuted.
So earlier this month, when Olbermann again whined that he wasn't happy, MSNBC brass couldn't wait to be rid of him.
"He has no friends, nobody to go to," said one former pal. "He said, 'I can't take this! This is too much for me!' Well, guess what. Nobody cared."