Keith Olbermann returns to ESPN with a late-night program, Olbermann, premiering Aug. 26 and airing weeknights on ESPN2 at 11pm ET.
Upstaging the news that hell has frozen over is the official word from ESPN that Keith Olbermann is returning to the ESPN family with a late-night sports talk show Olbermann, premiering Monday, Aug. 26, and airing Mondays-Fridays at 11pm ET on ESPN2. Olbermann worked for ESPN from 1992-97, and their acrimonious parting was the stuff of legend (“He didn’t just burn bridges here. He napalmed them.”). After a number of gigs in between (including Current TV), it seems now like ESPN and Olbermann need each other. ESPN needs a big name to help fend off FOX Sports 1. Olbermann needs a venue and someone willing to take on all that is Keith Olbermann.
According to ESPN’s press release, “[Olbermann] will focus on the day’s relevant sports topics through a mix of perspective and commentary, interviews, contributors, panel discussions and highlights.” According to Jim Miller of The New York Times, politics is not a part of the deal.
“Keith is a one-of-a-kind personality and these shows will be appointment viewing for that very reason,” Skipper says in the ESPN announcement. “Keith brings a blend of editorial sophistication and unpredictability — you can never be sure what you’ll get. Olbermann on ESPN2 gives viewers the quality late-night complement to ESPN’s SportsCenter in the same way we’ve developed distinct show options across our networks the rest of the day.”
Olbermann says: “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. 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.”
Photo: Credit: Rick LaBranche / ESPN Images