Former CNN, MSNBC, Current TV, Fox Sports Net and ESPN host Keith Olbermann is in talks with one of his former companies for a possible return to the fold. The New York Daily News cites sources saying the TV veteran is looking at a return to his sports roots with a potential late-night talk show on ESPN2.
Olbermann has attracted controversy at most of the stops in his television career, becoming a lightning rod for criticism especially after making the jump from sports to news commentary. He got attention for his liberal political views in particular during his time at MSNBC and Current.
But earlier in his career, including his stint at CNN, Olbermann’s focus was on sports, and he took home a series of sports broadcasting awards including being named best sports broadcaster three times by the California Associated Press and winning 11 Golden Mike Awards. He was nominated twice for Sports Emmys and won a CableACE in 1995, all for his work on ESPN’s "SportsCenter."
Talks are "very fluid" and there’s no decision yet on Olbermann or the project, the story notes. If ESPN hires Olbermann back, the move could steal some thunder from the August debut of rival network Fox Sports 1, the piece notes.
"This could be the first shot in an all-sports cable TV war," the story reports. "The sources added that ESPN is also considering unleashing a multimillion-dollar ‘SportsCenter’ advertising campaign/counterattack that would air around the launch of FS1."
Nevertheless, hiring Olbermann at ESPN2 would be "strange," according to the report. That’s because Turner Sports’ TBS hired him to host its Major League Baseball postseason studio show, and it’s unlikely that Turner executives would be pleased to see Olbermann debuting on ESPN2 before he appears on TBS.
The piece continues, "It also would be unusual for Turner to allow Olbermann to work for ESPN, which Turner Sports execs likely view as a competitor.
"Nonetheless, stranger things have happened in this business."