The most employable (or unemployable) news anchor in America, Keith Olbermann, might be getting ready for the comeback everyone's been waiting for.
He might be going back to ESPN.
The New York Daily News reports this morning:
[ESPN] is in serious discussions with Olbermann to host a New York-based late night talk show on ESPN2, according to industry sources. The sources said the situation is still “very fluid” and no decision on green-lighting Olbermann or the project has been made. If the move to Olbermann is made, it could blunt the buzz Fox hopes to generate with its August launch of Fox Sports 1.
Some of you might not remember, but the entire reason Keith Olbermann is relevant in 2013 isn't because he used to scream on people on Current.TV (a gig he was fired from in 2012), or because he used to scream on people on MSNBC (a gig he was fired from in 2011), but because he was one of the greatest guys to call plays in the history of people doing it as a SportsCenter anchor in the '90s.
Olbermann is still the model SportsCenter anchor, and cemented the legacy of the nightly sports news show with his then co-host Dan Patrick (as well as its slogan, "This...is SportsCenter"). He even inspired an ABC sitcom based on the dynamic between himself and Dan Patrick, the Peabody-award winning Sports Night, written by Aaron Sorkin (who would then go on to write another show with another very, very Olbermann-esque character, The Newsroom). Olbermann was the guy who made SportsCenter a show for people who weren't only interested in sports, but smart, funny television. And he's one of the few people truly capable of making ESPN watchable for those people again.
So what would be the problem with a big Olbermann return? Well, see, Olbermann was as much an asshole back in the day as he ever was, to be very, very kind. In the bestselling oral history/tell-all of ESPN, 2011's Those Guys Have All The Fun, Olbermann's exit forms the basis for one of the juiciest sections of the book (and ESPN's history).
Or as ESPN anchor Rece Davis explained:
There was a rumor a few years ago that maybe Keith would come back, and one of our coordinating producers said, "I think it would be a good idea but with one caveat. He first has to stand in the reception area, and everybody who wants to gets to come up and punch him in the stomach."
So there's that. Olbermann, who's usually pretty active on Twitter, has been very quiet this morning. Either way, we welcome this rumor with open arms: If this were to actually go down, it would be awesome. It probably wouldn't last long, and would be a typical Olbermann shitshow, but it would be awesome, and ESPN would be all the better for it.
[via New York Daily News]