Keith Olbermann has had a very interesting broadcasting career.
Probably no one has had a more meteoric rise in sports and political news broadcasting, and no one has had more numerous spectacular implosions. Calling Olbermann’s broadcasting career checkered doesn’t even scratch the surface. More like volatile. Extremely volatile.
Somehow, Olbermann has managed to dust himself off and get another chance. But who would have thought that Olbermann would be returning to a place where he had his first unceremonious departure.
On Wednesday, ESPN announced that Olbermann would be returning to the cable channel with a sports talkshow called “Olbermann.” The show will originate from ABC’s Time Square studio and debut Aug. 26 at 11 p.m.
Yes, hell just froze over.
Olbermann, along with Dan Patrick, became icons at ESPN as anchors on “SportsCenter.” The show was must-see TV because of the chemistry they had, and the way they presented the highlights. It became known as “The Big Show.”
In 1993, Olbermann was tabbed to help launch ESPN2. On the opening night, Olbermann, wearing a leather jacket and sitting next to Suzy Kolber famously said, “Hello, and welcome to the end of our careers.”
Olbermann left ESPN in 1997 under acrimonious circumstances. He was suspended for an unauthorized appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” which was hosted by ex-ESPN employee Craig Kilborn at the time. Olbermann moved to NBC, where he worked in news for MSNBC and NBC Sports. He bolted NBC for FOX Sports a year later. But he left FOX in 2001 and was back on MSNBC with “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” in 2003. He had an eight-year run there before leaving for Current TV in 2011. The association lasted just over a year before Current fired him.
Olbermann stayed out of the TV limelight for the rest of 2012. But, once again, he has emerged from the depths. Earlier this year, he was named host of TBS’ Major League Baseball playoffs studio show.
On Wednesday’s conference call, the 54-year-old Olbermann sounded like a man who was grateful to get a second chance with ESPN.
“Apart from the opportunity to try to create a nightly hour of sports television that no fan can afford to miss, I’m overwhelmed by the chance to begin anew with ESPN,” Olbermann said. “I’ve been gone for 16 years, and not one day in that time has passed without someone connecting me to the network. Our histories are indelibly intertwined, and frankly, I have long wished that I had the chance to make sure the totality of that story would be a completely positive one. I’m grateful to friends and bosses — old and new — who have permitted that opportunity to come to pass. I’m not going to waste it.”
The big issue is whether or not Olbermann will bring his political views to the show. Olbermann’s MSNBC and Current shows
favored the liberal agenda. He wasn’t afraid to criticize the Republican views.
“This is going to be a sports show,” ESPN president John Skipper said. “Politics and governance and elections aren’t going to be the subject of the show. Now, there’s no prohibition against speaking about when sports rubs up against anything else in our culture —
music, film. If politics happens to intersect with sports, . . . we would expect Keith to have some point of view there.
“Again, it’s going to be responsible. We, as a network, don’t have an expressed public political point of view, although we do have smart, intelligent commentators who are allowed to express some points of view. It’s the exception rather than the rule.”
Olbermann said, “The key four words are, ‘It’s a sports show.’ The idea that I would want to do anything that was not specifically sports related, even in the political context, I don’t know where that would come from. No political segments, no cultural segments are planned. But if the House [of Representatives] is considering a bill to make PED use a capital offense, we will cover it.”
Olbermann can’t afford to screw this up. He knows that this is truly his last chance. If he has another meltdown, then this will be it for his career.
Slight rating increase
Tuesday night’s Major League Baseball All-Star game scored a 6.9 overnight rating and 12 share for FOX Sports, it was announced Wednesday.
The rating for the American League’s 3-0 win over the National League was up 1 percent from last year’s 6.8/12. Viewership was 11 million, up 1 percent from last year’s 10.9 million.
The rating/share peaked was 7.6/13 at 10:45 p.m., when New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera entered the game in the bottom of the eighth inning.
NCHC TV schedule
CBS Sports Network announced Wednesday that it will televise 18 games from the new National Collegiate Hockey Conference.
There will be 15 regular-season games, as well as the NCHC tournament semifinals and championship game.
The schedule starts with a double-header Oct. 15 — North Dakota at Miami (Ohio) and Minnesota-Duluth at Colorado College.
Here is the schedule:
Oct. 15 — North Dakota at Miami (Ohio) and Minnesota-Duluth at Colorado College.
Nov. 15 — Wisconsin at Miami (Ohio) and Michigan at Nebraska-Omaha.
Dec. 6 — North Dakota at Western Michigan.
Dec. 13 — Western Michigan at Minnesota-Duluth.
Jan. 10 — Colorado College at North Dakota.
Jan. 17 — Western Michigan at St. Cloud State.
Jan. 24 — North Dakota at Denver.
Feb. 7 — Western Michigan at Miami (Ohio).
Feb. 14 — Miami (Ohio) at North Dakota.
Feb. 21 — St. Cloud State at Miami (Ohio) and Colorado College at Denver.
Feb. 28 — North Dakota at St. Cloud State.
March 7 — St. Cloud State at Colorado College.
March 21 — NCHC semifinals.
March 22 — NCHC championship.
The first race to be televised from Saratoga Race Course will be today’s Coaching Club American Oaks.
MSG Plus and MSG Plus HD will have coverage starting at 5 p.m.
ESPN and ESPN HD have the final two rounds of the British Open golf tournament this weekend. Today’s third-round coverage starts at 7 a.m. and resumes at 9 a.m. Sunday’s final-round coverage starts at 6 a.m. and continues at 8 a.m. In case you miss the live coverage, ABC10 (WTEN) and ABC10 HD will have same-day tape coverage at 3 p.m. each day. . . .
FOX23 (WXXA) and FOX23 HD will have today’s New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox game at 4 p.m. ESPN and ESPN HD has the Sunday night coverage at 8. . . .
The Tour de France wraps up this weekend on NBC Sports Network and NBCSN HD. Stage 20 is on today at 7:30 a.m. Sunday’s final stage is on at 11:30 a.m. . . .
The NHL 2013-14 TV schedule is out. Check my blog for the national games that will be televised by NBC Sports Group and NHL Network. . . .
The CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer quarterfinals are this weekend. FOX23 and FOX23 HD will have Sunday’s matchup between the United States and El Salvador at 4 p.m. FOX Soccer and FOX Soccer will have the other three games — Panama vs. Cuba at 3:30 p.m. and Mexico against Trinidad and Tobago at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, and Honduras against Costa Rica at 7 p.m. Sunday.