Network Execs Halted Olbermann-O'Reilly Feud

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 1, 2009 8:03 AM CDT

It took the intervention of a PBS peacemaker to halt the bitterest media fight of the decade, insiders tell the New York Times. Bosses at Fox and at MSNBC owner GE were fed up with Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly's long-running feud—especially after they started savaging each other's networks—and proved receptive when PBS interviewer Charlie Rose spoke to chief executives Rupert Murdoch and Jeffrey Immelt about ending it.

The bosses expressed regret about the increasingly personal nature of the attacks, the sources say, and arranged for a ceasefire within days—although not before some final barbs flew between Olbermann and O'Reilly. MSNBC president Phil Griffin told other shows to follow Olbermann's lead and lay off Fox, employees say, and Fox staffers were told to "be fair" to GE.  “For this war to stop, it meant fewer headaches on the corporate side,” one employee says. (More talk show stories.)

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