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Olbermann out at MSNBC; execs deny pressure from Comcast takeover

The final broadcast of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" aired Friday night as MSNBC and Olbermann parted ways. Why?

The final broadcast of "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" aired Friday night as MSNBC and Olbermann announced they would part ways.

The news appeared abruptly and comes just two months after MSNBC's highest-rated host was suspended for two days following reports that he gave donations to a Democratic political candidate, which violated the company's ethics policies for news employees.

Neither Olbermann nor MSNBC gave much of an explanation for the departure.

In a statement, MSNBC said: "MSNBC and Keith Olbermann have ended their contract. The last broadcast of 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' will be this evening. MSNBC thanks Keith for his integral role in MSNBC's success and we wish him well in his future endeavors."

Olbermann thanked his viewers for their support Friday night during the show. Olbermann supporters argued that Comcast's takeover of NBC Universal was the reason for the immediate departure but NBC executives denied that, according to reports.

Locally, Olbermann's sudden leave was a hot topic on Twitter Friday night.

"Keith Olbermann is the voice of reason in a sea of garbage," tweeted Tamra Burgess. "This is a travesty."

DJ Luciano said: "I want Keith Olbermann back! Or I move to CNN."

Several die-hard Olbermann fans started online petitions demanding the ousted host be returned.

But not everyone sang Olbermann's praises.

"Keith Olbermann, to unemployment. Left lost its voice," tweeted Silas Kan d'Kumquat. "So how's this yes we can thing workin' for ya?"

Ian Boudreau was not reaching for any tissues when he heard about the news.

He tweeted, "Keith Olbermann, good riddance."

Olbermann hosted "Countdown" at 8 p.m. since 2003 and it quickly became known as a controversial show where Olbermann outwardly supported Democratic leaders and criticized those in the political right.

He even feuded with Bill O'Reilly, a popular Fox News Channel commentator.

According to MSNBC, "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" will replace "Countdown" at 8 p.m., and "The Ed Show," with Ed Schultz, will replace O'Donnell's slot at 10 p.m.

Hours after his last show, Wana Lee tweeted, "I miss Keith Olbermann already."

- Daily News wire services contributed to this report