Former MSNBC host and current ESPN sportscaster Keith Olbermann says he hasn’t tuned into his old cable news channel since 2009 — more than a year before he left the network in 2011.
TPM reached out to Olbermann on Thursday to for his thoughts about a “Morning Joe” segment on proposed rules for nutritional labels where host Mika Brzezinski threw junk food and soda in the trash. After all, Olbermann once reportedly took some heat from the network’s top brass for addressing a health issue.
“I don’t know anything about this as I’ve never watched [Joe] Scarborough’s shows and I stopped watching msnbc in 2009,” Olbermann wrote in an email.
Olbermann did a segment on his former show, “Countdown,” in 2005 that drew on his own cancer scare to urge viewers to quit smoking. The New York Daily News reported at the time that the segment riled up MSNBC’s then-president Rick Kaplan so much that he “erupted angrily and at length, calling Olbermann ‘out of control’ and ‘not to be trusted,’ and accusing him of driving away viewers from the 9 p.m. debut of Kaplan hire Rita Cosby’s show, ‘Live and Direct.'”
Olbermann put that rumor to bed, telling TPM in an email that no one at MSNBC had reprimanded him for suggesting people quit smoking.
“I’m sorry, nobody at msnbc ‘threw heat’ at me for suggesting people quit smoking,” Olbermann wrote. “We had a regular on-air segment and a continuous web presence.”
Olbermann left MSNBC in early 2011 after his relationship with cable news channel deteriorated.