Keith Olbermann told David Letterman on Tuesday that he "screwed up really big" in deciding to join Current TV. (See the comments in the video below.)
It was Olbermann's first television appearance since his ugly firing from the network on Friday, after a little less than a year there. Since then, the battle between the anchor and his former bosses has played out in public, with charges and counter-charges flying back and forth. Lawyers are also involved.
Letterman's is a friendly venue for Olbermann (it's also the place he went after he left MSNBC in 2011), and the host gave him ample room to explain his side of the story.
"I screwed up," he said. "I screwed up really big on this. I thought we could do this. It's my fault that we didn't succeed in the sense that I didn't think the whole thing through."
He made an analogy to a $10 million chandelier, saying that you needed a house to put it in.
"Just walking around with a $10 million chandelier isn't going to do anybody a lot of good, and it's not going to do any good to the chandelier," he said. "And then it turned out we didn't have a lot to put the house on, to put the chandelier in, or a building permit, and I should have known that."
"You're the chandelier?" Letterman said. "You're always telling me how big my head is," Olbermann replied.
Letterman asked if Olbermann had gotten a sinking feeling the second after he signed the deal. Olbermann said he had, adding that his previous appearance on the "Late Show" in September was "the last time I had fun on television." He said he first thought of leaving just days after his show began.
"I was thinking about that as early as like last July," he said. "We’d been on the air about 10 days and they fired the guy who knew what he was doing who I worked for and I went, ‘Uh-oh.’"
Letterman asked if he had all of his money from the deal. "The nice judge will decide if I get all my money," Olbermann said.
He also spoke about Al Gore, his most famous boss.
"He meant well," he said. "It didn't go well. He just wasn't that involved in it and it was kind of difficult to get to him about these things."
"Where will you go now?" Letterman asked him at the end of the conversation.
"I think I'll just go home," Olbermann said.