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Keith Olbermann

Sues Current TV

You Owe Me Roughly $70 Mil

4/5/2012 1:38 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

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Keith Olbermann has just sued Current TV ... claiming the network violated his contract, torpedoed his show ... and still owes him up to $70 million in unpaid compensation.

In the lawsuit, filed in L.A. and obtained by TMZ, Keith says, "After being enticed to leave MSNBC and come to Current with promise of editorial control, freedom from corporate influence and the professional support to produce a high-caliber political commentary show of the type his viewers have come to expect, Keith Olbermann was disheartened to discover Al Gore, Joel Hyatt and the management of Current are no more than dilettantes portraying entertainment industry executives."

Olbermann claims his "public termination" last week was "the latest in a series of increasingly erratic and unprofessional actions undertaken by Current's senior management."

Keith alleges Current was so dysfunctional and broke after the network's first 8 months on the air, Current "still couldn't manage to, literally, keep the lights on."

Olbermann is suing for breach of contract, sabotage and disparagement.

In the suit, Keith lists the following gripes with the network:

-- broadcasting ads containing Keith's image without his consent
-- using guest hosts for "Countdown" without Keith's approval
-- refusing to give Keith editorial control over special election coverage
-- disclosing the confidential terms of his contract
-- linking Keith's name and goodwill with corporate endorsements without his consent
-- disparaging Keith publicly
-- refusing Keith's request to stream segments from his show on his website
-- refusing to invest resources in the show

The lawsuit also contains a reference to an email from Current TV President David Bohrman, in which Bohrman admits "the 33rd street studio [where Keith's show was filmed] is never going to be a professional facility. We are paying for a Porsche [the studio] and getting a Yugo [a notoriously crappy car]."

In his suit, Olbermann claims Current still owes him between $50 million and $70 million worth of cash and equity compensation.

After he was fired, Olbermann complained about how Current TV was being managed while he worked for the network -- telling David Letterman, Current was a "ragtag operation" that couldn't afford him.

Al Gore -- the network's co-founder -- released a vague statement after firing Olbermann, claiming they let Keith go because he was disrespectful and disloyal to viewers.

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