This has been rumored for a little while, but it was confirmed last night by James Andrew Miller, author of Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN. Perhaps in an effort to steal some thunder from FOX Sports 1 – coming to you on August 17 – ESPN will announce the re-hiring of KEITH OLBERMANN: [NY Times]
ESPN is expected to announce on Wednesday that the former network mainstay Keith Olbermann, who contentiously departed in 1997, will return to host a one-hour, nightly show for ESPN2 later this year, according to three executives with knowledge of the deal but not authorized to speak about it publicly.
On his new show, Olbermann will be free to discuss matters other than sports, including pop culture and current events, but not politics, the two-year pact specifies.
It was Olbermann’s politics that got him in trouble on CNBC and Current TV.
If you read Miller’s ESPN book, then you’re well aware that Olbermann can be mercurial and a real pain to work with, character flaws that eventually led to his leaving ESPN the first time around. He’s also regarded as one of the best sportscasters of all-time and a borderline genius (really).
For far too long, ESPN has intentionally squashed its personalities from exhibiting, well, personality. The best run for the network, however- from a content standpoint – was in the mid-90s, when guys like Olbermann, Dan Patrick, Craig Kilborn and many others were (mostly) free to improvise. Too many since have tried, and failed, to imitate that shtick. It will be good to see Olbermann, who is 54, take another whack at it.