The program debuted on MSNBC on 31 March 2003 as Countdown: Iraq following the March 19th invasion of Iraq, and aired on that network until 21 January 2011. In his final edition on MSNBC, Olbermann announced that he was leaving the network after having made contributions of $2,400 each to the political campaigns of Democrats Jack Conway, Raul Grijalva, and Gabrielle Giffords on 28 October 2010.
On 8 February 2011, Olbermann announced that he was moving to Current TV, where he would once again host his commentary program. He appeared on The Colbert Report on 15 June 2011 to promote the Current incarnation of Countdown, which then premiered on 20 June 2011.
During the interim between shows, Olbermann launched an "official not-for-profit" blog called FOKNewsChannel.com, "FOK" being an abbreviation for "Friends Of Keith". The blog featured political commentaries by Olbermann, including viral video versions of Countdown's "Special Comment" and "Worst Person" segments, as well as photographs of his outings at professional baseball games. On May 29th, 2011, the FOKNewsChannel.com domain redirected to the Current website to promote the June 20th launch.
Beginning with the June 20th premier, the program began with a countdown of the days until the 2012 presidential election (505, as of June 20th), and ends with Olberman thanking his viewers "for helping us preserve freedom of news," followed by Edward R. Murrow's immortal valediction: "Good night, and good luck."
Olbermann's employement with Current was terminated on March 30th, 2012. The network stated that "Current was [...] founded on the values of respect, openness, collegiality, and loyalty to our viewers. Unfortunately these values are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann and we have ended it." Olbermann released his own statement, apologizing for "the failure of Current TV" and declaring "that the claims against me implied in Current's statement are untrue and will be proved so in the legal actions I will be filing against them presently." His show was replaced by a show hosted by Eliot Spitzer.
Olberman has twice since appeared on This Week as a roundtable participant since departing Current: on Sunday, April 22nd, 2012, and again on Sunday, July 1st, 2012.