Keith Olbermann will return to sports reporting tonight on the premiere of his late-night talk show for ESPN2. Olbermann will debut at 11 PM EDT, marking his return to sports after over a decade in politics and hard news.
It might seem like something of a comedown for the outspoken and sometimes difficult commentator. His Current TV political program, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, ended in a flurry of lawsuits after he was fired by the network owners Al Gore and Joel Hyatt.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the firing came less than a year into a $50 million contract. Keith Olbermann eventually received a multi-million dollar settlement. But of course he didn’t get the job back.
THR said that in 1997 he left under something of a cloud at ESPN as well. But 16 years have passed, and the sports network is clearly ready to give the colorful anchor another try.
But has Olbermann returned to sports because he has no other choice?
According to a report in the New York Times, Keith Olbermann claims that he did have other political reporting opportunities and he just couldn’t make himself take them:
“[W]e retire our presidents after eight years. Why you should make anybody cover our political system beyond that is a mystery to me. It was pretty much burned out of me.”
Olbermann admitted that he came to understand his own burn-out better when he was invited to appear several times on This Week With George Stephanopoulos.
“I did it twice, and they invited me on many more times… but I found myself coming up with really bad excuses to not do it, like my dog needs attention.
“I finally figured out I just didn’t like the subject matter anymore.”
But fans of Olbermann’s “Worst Person in the World” clips won’t be left completely high and dry.
The ESPN2 show will feature “The Worst Person in the Sports World.” Keith Olbermann said it was much the same idea, only more sarcastic.