The Keith Olbemann suspension episode has made, I feel, MSNBC president Phil Griffin seem slightly prickly and volatile-minded — a protocol-minded guy who doesn’t see the forest for the trees. But Griffin is also coasting on a faint counterbalance of faux-glamour and temporary Jeff Goldblum coolness right now due to his marginal involvement in Morning Glory (Paramount, 11.10), a comedy about a Manhattan-based morning news show.
(l.) MSNBC president Phil Griffin; (r.) MNBC anchor/commentator Keith Olbermann
Griffin announced yesterday that Olbermann had been unsuspended and would resume his nightly news and commentary show as of tomorrow (i.e., Tuesday) evening. Griffin suspended Olbermann without pay three days ago for making three political donations on 10.28 without first seeking MSNBC’s approval, per company policy. Several commentators derided that decision for being overly punitive and arbitrary and slapdash.
Politico‘s Mike Allen reported over the weekend that “the suspension came about not because Olbermann violated network policy, but because he wouldn’t apologize on-air.” Olbermann, wrote Allen, “told his bosses he didn’t know he was barred from making campaign contributions, although he [resisted] saying that publicly.”
Griffin’s Morning Glory connection comes from (a) his having helped prepare costar Goldblum for his role as a TV producer by showing him around MSNBC and answering questions, and (b) a second-act moment in Morning Glory in which Goldblum tells Griffin’s assistant that if his boss doesn’t respond to an offer of free tickets to some sports event (a football game or something), he’ll offer them to someone else.
Popeater.com’s Ron Shuter has reported that “in addition to an apology, Keith is demanding that the rules be changed…Keith thinks it’s unfair that Fox News anchors can make contributions and support candidates and he can’t. It’s his money that he has earned, [and] he should be allowed to do whatever he wants with it.
“What sort of country do we live in where an actor can trash a hotel room with an escort and drugs and Keith can’t donate money to people running for office he believes in? It makes no sense. If they think they can slap Keith’s wrist and have him to return a few days later like nothing happened, they are wrong. They picked the wrong guy.”