Keith Olbermann’s noticeable absence from Current TV lately is just a symptom of a pretty serious problem according to the latest reports in from The Hollywood Reporter. His failure to appear as a host for the GOP primary in Iowa set off a firestorm of speculation as to why – the answers are starting to come out, and now there are lawyers involved.

The first reports if tensions between Olbermann and the network hit the news back on December 29th, but in the past few days it’s gone from tensions to angry public statements and what appears to be a brewing legal battle. The opinionated newsman has brought on legal eagle Patricia Glaser, who represented him once before when he left MSNBC. She’s also the lawyer who represented Conan O’Brien during his battles with NBC and is well known for not pulling any punches.

The disagreements between Olbermann and Current TV seem to revolve around the newsman’s desire for control over the time slot in which his series Countdown airs as well as his influence over how new hosts are brought by the network. The split this week has Olbermann claiming he was not given “a legitimate opportunity to host under acceptable conditions”, while memos leaked from the network seem to prove he was given his chance. As it stands, Olbermann has been entirely absent from primary coverage.

While most of the details of the legal negotiations between Glaser and Current TV’s legal team are under wraps, the information we’ve got seems to paint the picture of a power struggle. Who will win? Only time will tell, but Glaser’s reputation certainly stands in her favor.

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