Last night, Keith Olbermann surprised viewers by saying it was his last broadcast of his MSNBC talk show, Countdown With Keith Olbermann, saying he was “told that this is the last edition of your show." While MSNBC sources say the decision was mutual, the talk show host's and cable network's relationship apparently took a toll after Olbermann's political donations during the midterms—exposed by Politico—turned into a suspension for the 51-year-old, who then complained about it when he returned on air. According to The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz, NBC and MSNBC executives "began to talk [after the suspension] about how the channel was now on solid enough footing to survive without him."

Olbermann had signed a $30 million four-year contract in 2008, and will be paid out for the remaining time left on it. He is credited with helping turn MSNBC's ratings around—with his liberal rhetoric—to surge past CNN, though never surpassing Fox News. The Post, owned by Fox News' parent company News Corp., gleefully wrote about Olbermann's departure, using terms like "broadcast blowhard," "pontificating pundit," "unemployed Uberdork," and "garrulous gasbag," and finding him at fancy restaurant after his surprising announcement: "After bidding adieu, the self-styled champion of the little guy, was spotted dining late last night at the posh Gramercy Tavern on East 20th Street with four guests. As he left, a patron offered condolences, and Olbermann said: 'At least I had one nice meal since it happened.'"

The Post, which also says that Olbermann and MSNBC had been talking for weeks about what to do, reminds everyone about what Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts (Comcast is set to complete its takeover of NBC) said last year when asked what would happen if Olbermann went after Republican lawmakers, "Let's have that conversation in 12 months, when we're playing with live ammo."

Rachel Maddow, who was championed by Olbermann, was about to appear Real Time With Bill Maher last night when the announcement was made, and she told Maher, "I know very little about it. All I know is it was between Keith and the company and didn't involve any of the rest of us." When she said it was mutual, Maher opined, "Well that's always bulls--t."

One of the recipients of Olbermann's midterm donations Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was the target of an apparent assassination attempt earlier this month. The evening after the shooting, Olbermann singled out Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and others for their violent rhetoric, "If Sarah Palin, whose website put and today scrubbed bullseye targets on 20 Representatives including Gabby Giffords, does not repudiate her own part in amplifying violence and violent imagery in politics, she must be dismissed from politics - she must be repudiated by the members of her own party." Here's video of his Special Comment:

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Lawrence O'Donnell, who will take over Olbermann's 8 p.m. time slot (Rachel Maddow will remain at 9 p.m. while Ed Schultz will move to 10 p.m. from 6 p.m.), is being touted as one of the "winners" in the shake-up: A MSNBC source tells the Huffington Post that O'Donnell, former top side for Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and a writer/producer of The West Wing, "The debut of the new lineup will be the State of the Union, with Lawrence now the central player."