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Keith timed his exit as both a Take That to the network brass and a boost to his now-former colleagues.
He could've left a few months earlier, before the Lean Forward campaign; he could've left a week or so later, after the State of the Union. But he left after marketing spent a lot of money on new ads featuring him and the Friday before the biggest non-election event on the American political calendar, making a big splash and ensuring that many extra eyeballs would be on MSNBC. (Maybe not the Fox News crowd, but plenty of people who would normally have watched on CNN, C-SPAN, or one of the broadcast networks).