Maybe it doesn’t pay to be a jerk to everyone who’s ever given you a chance.
“One of the cards his people played was hardship,” the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told POLITICO. “He spent last fall talking to all the major networks, and he couldn’t get a job. The idea was, this could be the last money he ever earned.”
The source said Olbermann’s lawyers used this as “a bargaining chip” to “appeal to the sympathy” of Current TV executives, but said it was unclear if that factored into Current TV’s decision to agree to a settlement.
Olbermann did not respond to a request for comment regarding the discussion; his manager Michael Price declined to comment, citing confidentiality. Current TV spokesperson Tony Fox also declined to comment, citing confidentiality.
POLITICO has confirmed that Olbermann approached numerous cable and broadcast news channels, including ABC News, in pursuit of a job while still on contract with Current TV. Olbermann has also approached non-news networks, including ESPN and AMC, the channel that broadcasts “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” sources told POLITICO.
But when representatives from Current TV complained in mediation that Olbermann had violated his contract by pursuing other employment opportuntities, Olbermann’s representatives responded by pointing out that nothing had come of those talks, according to the sources.
“No one would hire him, and that became a negotiating ploy,” a source told POLITICO.