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Countdown begins for end of Keith Olbermann's 'Countdown'?

February 3, 2010 |  2:22 am

Fox News Channel's top-rated Bill OReilly

Remember Keith Olbermann?

He was the one-time must-see anti-Bush ranter who helped rescue MSNBC (yes, it's still on at night) from even worse oblivion years ago.

Well, quietly last month while no one was looking, hardly anyone was watching Keith Olbermann anymore.

The guy, who's even apparently tried to get some Sarah Palin-like eyeglasses, is now forced to leap over-the-top on ex-state senators like Scott Brown and Tuesday's worst person, Fox News' Glenn Beck. Beck is the successful talker with the perfect haircut for radio. Like most Americans, he wasn't watching Keith.

There are aKeith Olbermann of MSNBC couple of reasons for KO's frustration and anger and volume and core meltdown over the Massachusetts election outcome, among other issues of galactic import. For one, lots more ranters around nowadays on all sides, including that colleague of Keith's with the hugest head in TV. Please, no 3-D for him!

Also, Olbermann's showboat is sinking. Listing in you-know-which direction.

It's as if he thinks talking LOUDER will keep his low cell battery from dying.

Worst, Olbermann's network president, Phil Griffin, is publicly praising him, always an ominous sign in television. While referring to his host almost in the past tense. "Keith has been our tentpole," Griffin says, adding later, "I'm pleased with where we are."

Where they are, as Jeff Bercovici points out over at Daily Finance, is way behind the big boys over at Fox News, Bill O'Reilly and gang. In fact, Keith is so far behind Bill, he can't even make out the state of the license plate, let alone the numbers. Bercovici thinks Americans may be outgrowing Olbermann's schtick.

In the most desirable TV demographic of 25-54, which Keith will soon outgrow himself, "Countdown" lost 44% of its audience from the beginning of President Obama's term until this year. It could have been worse -- say, 45%.

Olbermann averaged 268,000 viewers last month in that sector. That's just several thousand sets of those eyes more than Campbell Brown over on CNN. According to one count, Keith even finished in that time slot behind Nancy Grace. Nancy Grace!

And she's on Headline News, Headline News, the repetitious TV channel the repetitious TV channel inflicted on all U.S. airline travelers within any boarding area around the clock so that when, at least an hour late, each person is finally crammed into plane seats between professional wrestlers, they feel relief.

On the bright side, which everyone knows KO is fond of spotting, his MSNBC audience was only 696,000 viewers 24-54 behind O'Reilly, whose audience has grown 55%, according to Bercovici. Of course, it might be worse this month.

In the immortal words of Edward J. Smith, captain of the Titanic, "What iceberg?"

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Credit: Getty Images (photos shown roughly proportionate to audience size).

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