California Keith Olbermann's fight with Current TV heads off to court

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Keith Olbermann is moving his grievances with his former employer Current TV from the airwaves to the courtroom, suing the network for more than $50 million and blasting it for what he claims were shoddy production values.

Olbermann's breach-of-contract lawsuit filed in Los Angeles on Thursday also seeks a judge's ruling that he didn't disparage the network before his firing, and that his former bosses violated his agreement by disclosing how much he was being paid.

The complaint describes a litany of technical issues, including shoddy equipment that wouldn't work if it rained, "terrible sound and filming" of the show, guests who were abruptly dropped from the air, busted teleprompters and an earpiece that repeatedly malfunctioned.

The court case escalated a war of words between Olbermann and the network since the host was fired last week. The lawsuit repeatedly attacks Current co-founder Joel Hyatt and network President David Borman, claiming they were responsible for many of the problems with Olbermann's show.

Current spokesman Christopher Lehane fired back, saying Olbermann was fired for missing work, "sabotaging the network" and disparaging his bosses.

Lehane's statement said the network looked forward to airing the grievances, which it called false and malicious.

It also swatted back at Olbermann, whose attorney at one point in the lawsuit likened Current to a public-access cable channel.

"We hope Mr. Olbermann understands that when it comes to the legal process, he is actually required to show up," Lehane wrote.

Olbermann denies missing work without permission and is asking a judge to determine he did not violate the terms of his lucrative agreement.

The talk show host claims he may be owed in excess of $70 million, and that the mismanagement at Current has damaged its value. He has an ownership stake in the network, according to the case.

Olbermann was fired March 30 and replaced with a new program hosted by former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Published: Mon, Apr 9, 2012

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