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Olbermann rejoins ESPN

Old 06-14-05, 10:25 AM
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Olbermann rejoins ESPN

Despite scorched bridges, Olbermann rejoins ESPN

By Michael Hiestand, USA TODAY

Pigs have flown: Keith Olbermann is once again going to cash ESPN paychecks.

ESPN will announce today that Olbermann, a SportsCenter anchor before leaving in 1997, will have an hour-long weekly show on ESPN Radio that will air Friday afternoons and begin this August.

Olbermann's exit from ESPN, where Olbermann was known for catchphrases such as "premature jocularity," wasn't amicable. He then moved to MSNBC to work on a news show that often focused on Monica Lewinsky.

The job, as Olbermann noted in a 1998 commencement address at his alma mater Cornell, wasn't fulfilling: It gave him "dry heaves," and it would "make me ashamed, make me depressed, make me cry."

Olbermann returned to working in sports television by moving to Fox.

After leaving Fox in May 2001, he suggested he'd like to work for ESPN Radio. He said, "For 20 years, a month hasn't gone by when I didn't think I'd get out of this TV nonsense and go back to the relative sanity of radio."

In response to that, ESPN's Mike Soltys was unequivocal: "He didn't burn bridges here. He napalmed them."

Soltys said Monday that Olbermann has expressed interest in recent years in working again, on TV or radio, for ESPN.

And Soltys now suggests he doesn't see Olbermann's return as anything bordering on the apocalyptic.

Said Soltys: "Now, I love the smell of napalm on Friday afternoons."

Olbermann, who is back at MSNBC and anchors its primetime news show Countdown With Keith Olbermann, won't be returning to ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters.

The ESPN radio show, the name of which wasn't released Monday, will originate from ESPN Radio 1050 AM in New York City. It will be made available to more than 300 U.S. radio stations that carry ESPN programming.

Olbermann was unavailable for comment Monday.
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Old 06-14-05, 12:36 PM
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There was no better team than Patrick and Olbermann, they were the best sportscenter duo ever. Hope he makes a full return, ESPN could use him.
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Old 06-14-05, 12:46 PM
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I agree, Olbermann is the shit. I always looked forward to his SC broadcasts.
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Old 06-14-05, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by LurkerDan
There was no better team than Patrick and Olbermann, they were the best sportscenter duo ever. Hope he makes a full return, ESPN could use him.
You know, I was suspicious of this a few weeks ago when Dan Patrick had him on his radio show. I knew something was up, because Olberman left on very, very bad terms there.
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Old 06-14-05, 12:55 PM
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Yeah, I hope he makes a full return too.

Couldn't care less about a radio show.
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Old 06-14-05, 01:06 PM
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Shows how desperate both parties are right now. ESPN could use him and he can use ESPN.
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Old 06-14-05, 01:34 PM
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The thing that killed Sportcenter is the revolving door they had for their anchor chairs. That and offering it up 225 times a day.

Olbermann isn't going to be coming back to Sportscenter. His ego is too big for that.
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Old 06-14-05, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by NCMojo
The thing that killed Sportcenter is the revolving door they had for their anchor chairs. That and offering it up 225 times a day.
I remember SportCenter when it was only -hour long and actually showed highlights of last nights games (except mondays during NFL season, when it was an hour long).

I'd love a morning sports show that actually showed highlights of the previous nights games.
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Old 06-14-05, 01:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones
You know, I was suspicious of this a few weeks ago when Dan Patrick had him on his radio show. I knew something was up, because Olberman left on very, very bad terms there.
I wonder what the "huge news" that DP has been mentioning every two minutes of his radio show is going to be? is it related to Olberman's return?
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Old 06-14-05, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by RoyalTea
I wonder what the "huge news" that DP has been mentioning every two minutes of his radio show is going to be? is it related to Olberman's return?
I THOUGHT that was what Mickey Rivers was saying!
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Old 06-14-05, 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by RoyalTea
I wonder what the "huge news" that DP has been mentioning every two minutes of his radio show is going to be? is it related to Olberman's return?

Yep.

And...Olberman is not getting his own show. He's joining Dan's show for that hour on Fridays. Should make for some good radio.
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Old 06-14-05, 02:10 PM
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Been following Olberman since his early days at KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles. Glad to see him back with ESPN and I agree that him and Patrick were the best SC duo ever.
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Old 06-14-05, 02:21 PM
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Could you have imagined Stuart Scott covering the Clinton impeachment? Cigar? Boo yah!
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Old 06-14-05, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones
Yep.

And...Olberman is not getting his own show. He's joining Dan's show for that hour on Fridays. Should make for some good radio.
Sweet. For an hour out of the week, DP's show may be listenable again.
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Old 06-14-05, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Deftones
Should make for some good radio.

Originally Posted by Mad Dawg
Sweet. For an hour out of the week, DP's show may be listenable again.
I miss Dibs and Sean. It hasn't been the same.
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Old 06-14-05, 04:06 PM
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I remember SportCenter when it was only -hour long and actually showed highlights of last nights games (except mondays during NFL season, when it was an hour long) I'd love a morning sports show that actually showed highlights of the previous nights games..
Isn't that what ESPNEWS is there for?
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Old 06-14-05, 04:33 PM
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I keep reading that MS and NBC are ready to part ways ... I wonder if this means anything.
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Old 06-14-05, 04:34 PM
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Interesting article by Olbermann on why he left ESPN. (I always remember the days when ESPN2 launch with Keith in his leather jacket.) Sorry, I don't feel like bolding.

http://www.salon.com/news/sports/col...1/17/meaculpa/


ESPN: Mea culpa
The story behind my tumultuous departure from the sports channel.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Keith Olbermann

Nov. 17, 2002 | A long, long time ago, one of my bosses at ESPN told me that during times of contention, I always showed too much backbone.

Well, he was damned right.

A whining sacroiliac sent me to the chiropractor's last week and the X-rays proved my old boss literally correct. I am part of that hidden minority, the spinal mutants, who have six lumbar vertebrae instead of the customary five. I do have too much backbone.

This was the final sign that it was time to do something that for months has been crystallizing out of the gauzy haze of the unconsciousness that surrounds us all: I need to apologize to ESPN.

This began to become evident weeks ago when the deputy mayor of Indianapolis attacked Chris Mortensen, one of my reportorial role models. I once watched Mort protect a source who not only publicly denied what he'd told Mort in private but also questioned his ethics. Just this month, Mort went on the air and criticized the thoroughness of his own reporting on a story. Mortensen is the gold standard, and this hack politician slashed him and said ESPN was "a sports channel first and a news organization fifth." I was amazed to find my hackles rising and myself rushing to defend my old employers on my radio sportscast.

It all became remarkably clear after that. This isn't about my skeletal freakiness, or Chris Mortensen, or even, particularly, the primary area of wounded feelings for my former bosses and colleagues, Mike Freeman's book about the network. This isn't even about specific events or people, although nearly everybody at ESPN merits an apology from me, and I give it willingly and with great sadness, but with some hope that it will explain if not erase my actions, and might even be of some inspiration to any who might be afflicted in the same curious way I've come to learn I am.

This is about not knowing why you do things -- literally, not knowing for years and years -- and then suddenly beginning to scratch the surface of understanding. That earlier imagery about the gauzy haze is almost factually precise: It feels as if I've been coming out of a huge fog bank.

Enough preamble. After five and a half years there, I left ESPN at the end of June 1997. My decision inspired a lot of head-scratching, everything from graffiti on a wall in a syndicated comic strip, to shouts of "traitor" from a viewer at a World Series game. There have been a lot of explanations conjectured, by myself and others, but heretofore I have never definitively stated why I left -- in large part because until recently, I didn't really know. In point of fact, I couldn't handle the pressure of working in daily long-form television, and what was worse, I didn't know I couldn't handle it.

Not the broadcasts themselves, mind you -- I've rarely had as much fun in life as I used to during those hours on the air with Dan Patrick. I'm talking about an inability to digest all that led up to those hours, about which I had no clue at all. And unless somebody at ESPN had the insight to look for a big-picture pattern, nobody else had any clue at all. I think some executives, most notably John Walsh, had a sense that something was wrong. But whatever any of them said about "insecurity" or "perfectionism," I know I just took it as an attack and stiffened my extra-long spine.

On top of everything else about it that can destabilize the soul, television is fraught with a million commonplace things that can go wrong. A surprisingly large number of things can go wrong even when everybody involved is giving their all. It's the nature of a medium so complex it would've made Rube Goldberg blanch.

But I didn't see it that way.

I have lived much of my life assuming much of the responsibility around me and developing a dread of being blamed for things going wrong. Moreover, deep down inside I've always believed that everybody around me was qualified and competent, and I wasn't, and that some day I'd be found out. If you think that way, when somebody messes up, you can't imagine that it just "happened." Since they're so much better than you are, how could they not complete a task successfully? They have to be not trying hard enough -- and when they don't try and the show goes to hell, who gets blamed? You do.

In other words, you start thinking like George Steinbrenner, circa 1977.

Mix that in to the very public nature of the field, and especially the high-profile nature of a job like hosting "SportsCenter," and you have a combustible combination.

The results can probably be summarized by this conversation I recall from the weeks after the infamous launch of ESPN2 in 1993. After three hours of live shots failing, news breaking, entire 20-minute segments of the show being swapped during commercial breaks, tapes physically falling apart, and production assistants wiping out as they ran through the snow to try to get us information, the producers, my co-host Suzy Kolber and I somehow managed to cover Michael Jordan's first retirement professionally and entertainingly.

Afterwards, the coordinating producer, Norby Williamson, greeted us like the survivors of a World War I foxhole at Ypres. "Great job. Great show," he said.

"The hell it was," I said.

Wrong answer.

You suspend -- no, let's be exact about this, I suspended -- the whole human part of the equation. It never occurred to me that most of the problems were the result of mere events. Even the chaos that surrounded the entire launch of the experimental show "SportsNight" was merely the inevitable result of the fact that it was experimental.

And it never, ever occurred to me that if it failed, I wouldn't be found out, fired, banished, finished.

The oddest thing about all this, is that even when I left -- and in six weeks I will have been gone longer than I was there -- executives like Walsh and Howard Katz underscored that I was welcome to return at some distant future date, despite all the Sturm und Drang. And, man, I was usually producing both the Sturm and the Drang. Months later, Katz even approached me about contributing to ESPN Classic, shortly after the company had bought that network.

Of course, I could not know that the major bone of contention, the veritable sixth lumbar vertebra of contention, still awaited: Freeman's book. I should herein point out that none of this should reflect on Mike: He did an exhaustively thorough job, and more to this point, he didn't misquote me, not once, nor did he use anything I said out of context. Nor did he cajole or sweet-talk me into discussing topics I didn't want to discuss. Also, this isn't some kind of loudspeaker confession from George Orwell's "1984." I'm not going to renounce most of my criticisms of the place. I did not consort with Goldstein. I don't think I was wrong on the issues -- I think my methodology was wrong. Outstandingly wrong.

My answers to Freeman constituted the ultimate act of somebody who lived in terror of being blamed. After I left for NBC in 1997, I was unprepared for a question I would literally hear daily -- on the street, at events, even on the air on MSNBC: "Why'd you leave 'SportsCenter'?" If you make a decision in your life, even one as eminently logical and self-improving as "Why'd you start washing your hair every day?" and you start getting questioned hourly about it, you're going to start second-guessing yourself. I eventually got up to about my millionth guess.

So. The logic was impeccable. To answer that question, I couldn't take the blame (responsibility) for the disaster (career growth) about which I was being persecuted (sympathetically asked about). Why did I leave "SportsCenter"? Obviously, because it was a medieval torture chamber (fairly typical television workplace providing a high level of ego gratification and creative freedom).

There's a lot in Freeman's book that I regret. I won't inundate you with details, but a few require specificity. Referring to ESPN's executives, I told Freeman that "other than Steve Anderson, I don't think any of them are any good." Well, that was ridiculous then and it is ridiculous now. Without even judging how good they were, just to keep a monolith like ESPN on the air every day requires as many good executives as they have at NORAD.

As suggested earlier, I don't regret my stances on the work environment there, but to say that some actions management took were merely "covering their ass legally" was to subtract the humanity from the equation. It never dawned on me that some of these guys had been thrown in at the deep end of the pool, or would have to expose, prosecute and fire friends and colleagues who themselves had done things that until a decade before had been standard operating procedure at every corporation in America.

I now read with horror of my ESPN2 co-host, Ms. Kolber, sequestering herself in the women's bathroom and weeping over how I treated her. She told Freeman that as things deteriorated, I wouldn't talk to her. She's wrong: I couldn't talk to her. I pumped up some small-scale complaints into a scenario in which she was at fault for everything ESPN2 hadn't become. I wasn't completely obtuse back then, and if anything would have cut through my neuroses, it would've been a colleague's tears. If I had known, I think I could've jumped over the fence I'd built around myself and said what the inner guy always knew: No TV show is worth crying over. Suzy: I'm sorry.

There are lots of little gratuitous shots in there that also reflect an insensibility to parts of reality. I get queasy at all of them, but one stands out as representative. Freeman accurately quotes me as complaining about how a labor-intensive participatory field piece I did in 1996 about what the first-base coach does and says during a game, got little airtime. A year later, ESPN ran a similar piece in which the coaches of the Anaheim Angels wore microphones. I complained to the relevant coordinating producer, Jeff Schneider, and he replied that the new ESPN-Disney-Angels connection explained why one piece ran and the other didn't. It is almost certain that Schneider was joking, or tweaking me, or, most probably, protecting me from a fact I could never have admitted to myself or have survived hearing from him or anybody else: My coaching piece just wasn't that good.

Several ESPN folks suggested to Freeman that I was trying deliberately to violate the rules -- appearing on other networks and writing for publications without notifying them just to tweak management. That was almost right on the money. But it wasn't as simple as merely trying to annoy ESPN or John Walsh or whoever else. It was me trying to give myself an excuse to get out from under the pressure of working in an environment of my own creation in which I daily expected the blame ax to fall. It was prepackaged sour grapes.

Oddly, I did figure some of this out then, which is why, even after we'd finalized my departure I went back and proposed to them that I do one show a week. That really was instinct cutting through all of these neuroses. That was, should've been, and remains my ideal TV schedule: one or two days a week, and the other five or six to remember that I'm not going to be blamed for everything by anybody -- even myself.

So, I'm sorry. It should have been done differently. It wasn't. Then again, I'm only finding out now about that extra vertebra and the extra steps I have to take to learn how to be, well, flexible.
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Old 06-14-05, 07:18 PM
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dammit!! i read the thread title and was all set on the return of the big show. i guess it's back for an hour a week....on radio.
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Old 06-14-05, 09:45 PM
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Originally Posted by kevin75
dammit!! i read the thread title and was all set on the return of the big show.
I'm sure you were the first to do that.
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Old 06-14-05, 11:46 PM
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Originally Posted by nickdawgy
I agree, Olbermann is the shit. I always looked forward to his SC broadcasts.
amen, I know his one liners pissed off some people but I watched just for the entertainment, who needed Comedy Central?
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Old 07-09-15, 02:06 AM
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Re: Olbermann rejoins ESPN

Shocking news!

I remember he would complain about the Redskins team name and Goodell on every show.

I think he had a chance to stay if he decided to move to L.A. or Bristol and ditch the commentary on his show.

Maybe he could go back to MSNBC and do a show with Brian Williams. I would watch that lol.

ESPN and Keith Olbermann are parting ways later this month, the sports network said Wednesday.

Olbermann rejoined "the worldwide leader in sports" in August 2013 with an eponymous talk show, "Olbermann," which airs on ESPN2.

Company officials reportedly chose not to re-sign Olbermann to a new contract rather than fire him. His contract expires this month.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/0...n_7758376.html

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Old 07-09-15, 06:59 AM
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Re: Olbermann rejoins ESPN

Blowhards gonna blow.
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Old 07-09-15, 09:45 AM
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Re: Olbermann rejoins ESPN

Good riddance. Now he needs to just go away.
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Old 07-09-15, 10:06 AM
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Re: Olbermann rejoins ESPN

Heh! Someone's gonna get suckered in by the thread title.

Good thing it wasn't me. (because it almost was!)
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