Keith Olbermann: Why His New ESPN2 Show Will Fail


The Ol’ Brrrr-man. The Olberminator. KO. The Big O.

Well it looks like Keith Olbermann is back in the news again. Olbermann will now be hosting his own late night talk show on ESPN2 after negotiations with ESPN’s parent company, Walt Disney. After a 14-month back and forth, Disney allowed Olbermann to host his own show in hope of using it to compete with the new channel, Fox Sports 1. In addition to the 2-year contract that Olbermann received, there is a special stipulation that the famously vocal and political host must abide by: absolutely no political talk.

The controversial TV personality has had more than his share of emotional, anger-filled departures from other channels that have made him a “ticking time-bomb” for many news channels. Can Olbermann control himself from unveiling his own liberal perspective on ESPN and causing himself to get the boot again? Doubtful. The evidence suggests Olbermann has a long history of exposing his liberal agenda, and in addition to that even on his brief stint with the NFL Olbermann still managed to get in some political jabs.

Olbermann’s history in the business actually begins as a sportscaster for KTLA. He later went on to host ESPN’s Sports Center 16 years ago, until he came to have an unpleasant exit in 1997 over a huge argument about Olbermann’s unauthorized appearance on The Daily Show with then-host Craig Kilborn.

Olbermann was fired and would continue a strung-out feud with ESPN that included publishing an article on Slate about his departure from the netwrok stating, “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."

He left ESPN and joined MSNBC, as the host of the show, Countdown. Olbermann became famous for his liberal viewpoints and attacks on conservatives and brought the show a great deal of left-wing viewers. Olbermann however, came under a crackdown by the network for political contributions he had been giving to candidates. This forced his departure from the news network, and sent him to Al Gore’s Current TV, where again Olbermann was fired for his contentious political viewpoint.

Even with his long-charged history, this new announcement means Olbermann will now have two stints on TV: As the new host of TBS’ postseason MLB coverage, and as a late night host on ESPN. But even with the new stipulation on his deal, Olbermann just has a history of pushing out his perspective in whatever media platform he’s given. With his time on Football Night in America, Olbermann still managed to find the time to crank out some political jabs.

With such a history of departures largely due to political outbursts, it is very likely this news stint will turn out no different than every other in Olbermann’s career.