(Reuters) - Keith Olbermann, the liberal news anchor fired late last week from Current TV after only one year, said on Tuesday he had “screwed up really big” - by taking the job at the small TV channel in the first place.
In his first public appearance since his split from Current, Olbermann told talk show host David Letterman that he considered quitting Current as early as July 2011.
“I screwed up really big on this ... It’s my fault that it didn’t succeed in the sense that I didn’t think the whole thing through,” Olbermann told Letterman on Tuesday’s “Late Show”.
“I didn’t say, ‘You know, if you buy a $10 million chandelier, you should have a house to put it in. Just walking around with a $10 million chandelier isn’t going to do anybody a lot of good, and it’s not going to do any good to the chandelier.’ And then it turned out we didn’t have a lot to put the house on, to put the chandelier in, or a building permit, and I, I should have known that,” he said, acknowledging that he believed he was akin to the chandelier.
Current TV said on Friday it had fired Olbermann, accusing him of breaching his contract, trying to sabotage the channel and repeatedly failing to show up for work.
Olbermann joined the tiny progressive public affairs network, founded seven years ago by former U.S. vice president Al Gore and business partner Joel Hyatt, in February 2011 after abruptly quitting his top-rated “Countdown” program on MSNBC.
He clashed with Current executives earlier this year over coverage of the 2012 U.S. presidential election campaign.
But on Tuesday, Olbermann said trouble was brewing even earlier. “You could bail out and say ‘I’m getting out of this immediately,’ and trust me, I was thinking about that as early as like last July. We’d been on the air about 10 days and they fired the guy who knew what he was doing who I worked for and I went, ‘Uh-oh,’” he said.
Olbermann said however that he decided to carry on for the sake of his audience and his staff.
Olbermann said last week he would take legal action over his dismissal. His one-hour primetime “Countdown” show has already been replaced with a new show presented by former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer.
Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte