December 21, 2005 -- E! President and CEO Ted Harbert is the grinch who stole Kathy Griffin's Christmas.
Just a week before the holiday, Harbert informed Griffin's lawyer her services would no longer be needed at E! To make it worse, she found out she'd been axed only because her lawyer called asking "what the deal was" with the upcoming Golden Globes.
The tart-tongued redhead brought a much needed sparkle to the E! awards show coverage ever since Joan Rivers left for greener pastures at the TV Guide channel.
Griffin, whose latest special, "Allegedly," is airing on Bravo, told PAGE SIX: "I asked my reps, 'What's going on? The Golden Globes are in three weeks.' "
When Griffin's people called Harbert, "Apparently Ted told my reps that the E! red carpet is a puzzle and I am a piece of the puzzle, which is a wonderful puzzle piece, but I don't fit this particular puzzle and that when I see the puzzle, I will get it. I am a piece that doesn't understand only because they can't tell me who will take over.
"They kept saying, 'When you see the new puzzle, you will know it is not a personal insult.' I was like, are you kidding? I got canned, bottom line. I can't even be like Star Jones and be like, 'Oh, I have a book tour coming up!' "
Jones briefly worked with Griffin at E! covering the red carpet events, but was criticized for being too much of a suck-up to the stars. When her contract wasn't renewed, Jones claimed it was because she needed to publicize her book, "Shine," out next month.
Griffin also got into trouble on the red carpet when she joked that Dakota Fanning was in rehab — prompting Fanning's reps to threaten to sue E!
"You really would have to be an idiot to take that joke seriously," Griffin said. But she was relegated to the "Siberia" of the media bridge over the red carpet while Jones or Giuliana Depandi did the softball fawning celebrity interviews.
"So now I am living in my house, just a happy funny puzzle piece looking for a new puzzle," Griffin laughed.
Our favorite funnywoman is starting to film the second season of her Bravo show, "Life on the D List," in February as well as taping another Bravo special.
Happily, one thing may be worked out. Griffin tells us she and her estranged hubby, Matt Moline, "are working on it. He will be a part of my Bravo show next season."