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Keith Olbermann Back with ESPN

by Photo of Kenneth Teape

After almost 20 years Keith Olbermann will be back on ESPn with his own show starting August 26th.

Keith Olbermann Back with ESPN

On July 17, 2013 it was announced that Keith Olbermann would be returning to ESPN. This comes nearly 16 years after Olbermann left the company in a cloud of controversy. This time around he will host an hour-long show that will air at 11 P.M. ET on ESPN2 titled Olbermann that will premiere August 26th. The two sides agreed to a two-year contract that will allow Olbermann to deviate from the world of sports and delve into pop culture and current events but made it very clear that he is explicitly forbidden from discussing politics in any capacity.

After leaving ESPN in 1997 Olbermann had political and news jobs with MSNBC, Fox and Current TV. He has been off television since last year after his split with Current TV, but in addition to the ESPN2 show was brought onto TBS’s MLB postseason coverage team with Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley.

Olbermann and ESPN first started their relationship in 1992 when he was hired to be an anchor on SportsCenter. Often times Olbermann would co-host with Dan Patrick during the 11 P.M. time slot as the two became one of the most popular anchor teams. In 1995 Olbermann won a Cable ACE Award for his work on SportsCenter by being named best sports caster. The two also made some of the best sports commercials ever with the “This is SportsCenter” bits they put together.

Not too long after that the relationship between Olbermann and the network became strained. In 1997 he appeared on The Daily Show on Comedy Central with then host Craig Kilborn, who was also a former ESPN employee. At one point during the taping, Olbermann said Bristol, Connecticut, where ESPN’s headquarters are located, was a “Godforsaken place.” He was subsequently suspended two weeks for his actions. Things did not get better as later that year Olbermann would leave the company unexpectedly, burning all the bridges with the company’s executives on his way out.

The two sides could not see eye-to-eye as a back and forth of barb throwing went on after his departure and until 2007. In 2002 Olbermann released an essay on Salon.com entitled “Mea Culpa” in which he continued to talk poorly about his past employer.

ESPN responded in 2004 with a shot of their own as Olbermann was not invited back for SportsCenter 25th anniversary “Reunion Week.” Past hosts and personalities such as Kilborn and Charley Steiner returned, but Olbermann was nowhere to be found.

In 2007 the relationship was repaired somewhat as Olbermann was allowed to return to the ESPN airwaves, he just was banned from the main ESPN campus in Bristol.

It has been a tumultuous relationship at best between ESPN and Olbermann but it is good to see that they were able to hash out some of their problems and get him back to the network. With Olbermann back in the fold now there may also be chance we get to see more gems like this:

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