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Olbermann could indeed be returning to ESPN, with a late-night talk show

keith-olbermann-fired2 Getty Images

Several months ago, rumors quickly percolated then even more quickly dissipated about a possible return of Keith Olbermann to ESPN.  According to Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News (via SportsBusiness Daily), those rumors have resurrected — and they could be more than rumors.

Raissman reports that Olbermann is talking to ESPN about hosting a late-night talk show on ESPN2, the sister network Olbermann helped launch more than 20 years ago.

Driving the discussions of an unlikely reunion, which Raissman calls “very fluid,” could be the mutual enemy of ESPN and Olbermann.  With FOX Sports 1 coming next month, ESPN apparently is looking for ways to continue its domination of the TV sports landscape.  While Olbermann had an ugly split with ESPN, he had an even uglier divorce from FOX, and the animosity lingered through his time with MSNBC, where Olbermann hosted a popular and polarizing (and extremely entertaining and informative) evening news and analysis show.  Olbermann also co-hosted NBC’s Football Night in America from 2007 through 2009.

So, basically, Olberman and ESPN would be operating the theory of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend, even if the enemy of my enemy was much closer to enemy than a friend absent the common enemy.”

It remains to be seen whether that thinking will extend to ESPN’s Bill Simmons, who publicly has feuded with Olbermann in the past.  And Raissman points out that the possible return of Olbermann to ESPN could rankle Turner Sports, where Olberman is slated to debut later this year as the MLB postseason studio host.

That question hinges on the terms of Olbermann’s contract.  It won’t be surprising to learn that Turner didn’t bother to include a clause that prevents Olbermann from working for ESPN, since many would have never believed that Olbermann would ever return.

It’s still not a done deal, but it’s an intriguing development that could bring a very unique and diverse talent back to the place where his career took off.

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93 Responses to “Olbermann could indeed be returning to ESPN, with a late-night talk show”
  1. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Jul 15, 2013 1:20 PM

    Olbermann is one of the worst people in the world.

  2. logicalvoicesays says: Jul 15, 2013 1:23 PM

    Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann is like RGIII to Pierre Garcon. #SmoothandEasy

  3. craniator says: Jul 15, 2013 1:23 PM

    Olbermann is a rabid Liberal and Mega Dweeb.
    From what I’ve heard and read , hardly anyone who’s ever worked with him has liked him very much.

  4. eaglefan94 says: Jul 15, 2013 1:26 PM

    Olbermann is a d-bag, the liberal version of Bill O’Reilly. If you have no good points to add to your argument, try and out-scream your opponent.

  5. snaponrules says: Jul 15, 2013 1:26 PM

    Olbermann is just another liberal douchenozzle. The less he is on TV the better and the less I have to hit the remote button.

  6. 1590t says: Jul 15, 2013 1:29 PM

    Major Tool

  7. realguy says: Jul 15, 2013 1:30 PM

    Did someone just use “Olbermann”, “entertaining” and “informative” in the same sentence? That must have been sarcasm.

  8. somekat says: Jul 15, 2013 1:30 PM

    If you watched anything Olbermann did on MSNBC, and came away with an adjective of “informative and entertaining”, you should be locked in a room somewhere for the good of mankind

  9. joebone says: Jul 15, 2013 1:30 PM

    Too many self-infatuated a-holes on the network as it is. I don’t see how this helps the ratings at all.

  10. benh999 says: Jul 15, 2013 1:31 PM

    After he trashes his own career with obnoxious commentary and development of a superiority complex that gets him booted from at least two jobs, I would hardly think his career will be revived at ESPN.

  11. thegenoatkinsdiet says: Jul 15, 2013 1:32 PM

    If ESPN is looking to drive DOWN their ratings (and whatever credibility they may have), then Olbermann is the right man for the job.

  12. thehouseofho says: Jul 15, 2013 1:34 PM

    He was great when he was on ESPN, but once he became a political pundit his act got old quick.

  13. fdugrad says: Jul 15, 2013 1:34 PM

    I wouldn’t necessarily want to work with Keith, however, I have always enjoyed his shows from ESPN through to MSNBC. He is intelligent, witty, entertaining and gets to the heart of issues. He also has a fairly large following. If he returns, I will be watching.

  14. frackfrapflop says: Jul 15, 2013 1:35 PM

    Please stop associating Olberman with liberals. He does not represent any platform but his own.

  15. barkleyblows says: Jul 15, 2013 1:35 PM

    Another reason NOT to watch ESPiN or ESPiN 2

  16. gb4mn0 says: Jul 15, 2013 1:37 PM

    Bringing Olbermann back is a clear indicator of ESPN stepping into the political opinion ring. Olbermann’s brand of talk is filled with partisan hostile rhetoric that’s deliberately targeted at enraging Christians whom he sees as the enemies of his ideology. The next thing you know ESPN will be taking a break at 3PM each day to face Mecca and pray.

    The enemies of my enemies are my friends.

  17. somethingsmellsrotten says: Jul 15, 2013 1:37 PM

    As if I needed one more reason not to watch BSPN…

  18. atwatercrushesokoye says: Jul 15, 2013 1:39 PM

    Olberman and Bill Simmons are both obnoxious a-holes.

  19. jags2daship says: Jul 15, 2013 1:41 PM

    I would rather stick my head in dirty toilet than listen to 5 seconds of that horrible liberal puke talk about sports and issues.

  20. rc33 says: Jul 15, 2013 1:42 PM

    Great call, ESPN.
    Up next, the return of the equally lovable Sean Salisbury.

  21. mediasloppy says: Jul 15, 2013 1:43 PM

    If people actually got out of their political annex, the guy is smart and deals with facts. It’s not a political show and if it’s pure sports he can be very entertaining. But I can see why people will Box him into a corner as he can be very polarizing…

  22. cing73 says: Jul 15, 2013 1:44 PM

    Olberman and ESPN huh? Should go off without a hitch lol
    #rushlimbaugh

  23. vikingsrulez69 says: Jul 15, 2013 1:44 PM

    I couldn’t care less about his politics, but I do care about the fact that is not at all funny.

  24. sidepull says: Jul 15, 2013 1:44 PM

    From bad to really bad.

  25. mogogo1 says: Jul 15, 2013 1:44 PM

    This persistent rumor says a whole lot about how far he’s fallen. He left ESPN because he thought he was bigger than sports. Thus, I can’t see him going back there unless he had absolutely no other offers.

    I’d give this about 6 months until the network ends up having to apologize for some political rant that ended up in piece that was supposed to be about baseball… or until ESPN figures out that his current fan base aren’t sports fans so aren’t watching him any more.

  26. noring4youstill says: Jul 15, 2013 1:47 PM

    Won’t be watching that Libtard douche

  27. warhammer420 says: Jul 15, 2013 1:49 PM

    Bring back Olbermann and Patrick! That was when ESPN was in its prime.

  28. vablockaderunner says: Jul 15, 2013 1:53 PM

    “Olbermann hosted a popular and polarizing (and extremely entertaining and informative) evening news and analysis show”

    ZUH?

    Who found that show “informative?” Mental patients?

    This guy has been fired more times than George Costanza, and he never even got to drop strawberries on Babe Ruth’s uniform.

    Way to go ESPN2 — what America really needs at night is another hateful, misogynist, self-important D-bag screaming at us on TV.

  29. ryann252013 says: Jul 15, 2013 1:53 PM

    Can we get a new espn crew? I hate going on there and seeing the butt fumble every morning. They totally burned the funniest out of it and only there dumb anchors think its funny.

  30. lsuzilla says: Jul 15, 2013 1:54 PM

    Hiring KO would drive viewers to Fox Sports 1

  31. fwippel says: Jul 15, 2013 1:54 PM

    If he couldn’t cut it at the Current TV network, I have to question why ESPN would consider bringing him back.

    My guess is any show he lands on ESPN2 ends up being broadcast so late, no one will watch it. As a result, KO will then have to say something outrageous to draw attention to the show and himself, which will likely result in another speedy and angry exit on his part.

    Sorry, but Olbermann is a first class jerk with an ego the size of New York City. Without a considerable effort on his part to change, I don’t know why any network would bother with him again.

  32. tigersfandan says: Jul 15, 2013 2:00 PM

    How sad. On the bright side, maybe he replaces Wilbon or Kornheiser.

  33. germanstingray says: Jul 15, 2013 2:02 PM

    Olbermann is incapable of discerning facts from opinion. He has proven it over and over again. But on a more positive note, he’s probably one of the most awful arrogant douches to ever exist. ESPN or anyone else would be making a serious error ever putting him on the air again.

  34. beerjunkie says: Jul 15, 2013 2:03 PM

    Blah. This does nothing to improve the downward spiral in programming at ESPN. What was once a great network has become just another drama driven reality network. Court TV for sports.

  35. eagles512 says: Jul 15, 2013 2:03 PM

    His show on msnbc was popular? I guess 17 viewers means popular.

  36. delmonte55 says: Jul 15, 2013 2:04 PM

    MSNBC, where Olbermann hosted a popular and polarizing (and extremely entertaining and informative) evening news and analysis show
    ____________________________________

    Ahhh, Liberal Love!

  37. lightcleric says: Jul 15, 2013 2:05 PM

    Wait, he’s been fired from so many places that he’s run out of new places to try?

  38. braunliesandcheats says: Jul 15, 2013 2:11 PM

    I will not watch ESPN if this pathetic excuse for a man is on the air!

  39. oilman989 says: Jul 15, 2013 2:12 PM

    Olbermann + ESPN = marriage made in heaven. And yet another reason to keep ESPN banished from my airwaves.

  40. matt2calvin says: Jul 15, 2013 2:19 PM

    Thank God we will soon have 2 other 24 hour sports channels to choose from.

    I don’t hate anyone, but this jerk comes very close to making the list.

    Horrible decision by ESPN.

  41. 52lightsxout52 says: Jul 15, 2013 2:20 PM

    Oh how the might have fallen. Olbermann is an irrelevant leftist gas-bag who lost his job at MSNBC, then got booted again at CurrentTV for lack of ratings. Olbermann, please do us all a favor and just go away already…

  42. thestrategyexpert says: Jul 15, 2013 2:21 PM

    Well ESPN needs to do something to invent some new excitement or content. Their creativity and vision has been rather uninspiring and dull as of late.

  43. deucedropper says: Jul 15, 2013 2:21 PM

    Another unfunny blowhard on ESPN2?

    The ESPN “family” of networks used to be the only reason I thought I needed cable tv anymore. But I find myself watching less and less as the “Embrace debate” slogan becomes more and more rampant. Does ESPN really stand for “Embrace Stupid Pundits Network”? I’m starting to think I’m the stupid one for paying money to keep these channels.

    Olbermann doesn’t necessarily represent a final straw, but rumors like this one are a reminder that the direction of the networks’ programming is getting further away from what I want as a sports fan.

  44. archaic00 says: Jul 15, 2013 2:26 PM

    I think you meant enmity, not enemy, on the third paragraph, first sentence. I thought they taught those terms in law school.

  45. indytom87 says: Jul 15, 2013 2:29 PM

    Damaged Goods. Since when does ESPN eat someone’s leftovers?

  46. Walter Sobchak says: Jul 15, 2013 2:32 PM

    Amazing what happens to people when they get this idea in their head that they are the big time, they are why people watch, etc. Back in the day Dan Patrick and Keith Olberman were awesome on SportsCenter. At the height of their run they were hands down the standard for sports highlights. Then Olberman got this idea in his head that he was big man on campus, and left because ESPN was holding him back from super stardom. Now look at him, people got real tired of him, and even though he was popular before he left, he turned too many people off and it literally ruined his career. Any one know how Craig Kilborn is doing these days? LMFAO

  47. westpalmlion says: Jul 15, 2013 2:33 PM

    Fox sports 1 cannot get here soon enough..espn in the past ten years has got so ridiculous that i can’t even watch sportscenter anymore. The anchors are god awful and all they ever talk about are hashtags and basketball

  48. trollhammer20 says: Jul 15, 2013 2:38 PM

    I wish a network would hire Olbermann and Limbaugh to co-host an NFL TV show.

    That way, I could not see or hear either one of them when I don’t tune in to watch it.

  49. getyourownname says: Jul 15, 2013 2:40 PM

    If it’s on between 4-5 AM, it will meet the criteria of getting better ratings than his prior shows.

  50. twayward says: Jul 15, 2013 2:40 PM

    keith olbermann is an extraordinarily talented broadcaster. imho his return to television can’t come soon enough.

  51. chrisrsports says: Jul 15, 2013 2:43 PM

    Wow, can’t believe how much hate I see out there for a guy who hasn’t been on TV for years.

  52. ccjcsr says: Jul 15, 2013 2:43 PM

    This guy can’t keep a gig to save his life.

    #bigmouth

  53. bigdaddy44 says: Jul 15, 2013 2:47 PM

    The hiring of Olbermann, along with the addition of Ray Lewis would just be another reason, among many, to not watch the ESPN division of Barnum and Bailey’s circus anymore.

  54. ninetysixer says: Jul 15, 2013 2:59 PM

    another reason not to watch the Lebron network

  55. bennyb82 says: Jul 15, 2013 3:00 PM

    The only way this works is if his co-host is Skip Bayless…because if Skip does not tune you out, there is a decent chance that Keith wont either. With that said, how awful would it be to engineer the sound and video on that show…

  56. packhawk04 says: Jul 15, 2013 3:01 PM

    The lefts version of bill o reilly… perfect anaolgy someone before me used….

  57. thegreatsantini56 says: Jul 15, 2013 3:03 PM

    A legend in his own mind. He left on his way up. Keith Olbermann, come on down!

  58. Deb says: Jul 15, 2013 3:03 PM

    My political views fall left of center, but I found Olbermann’s MSNBC show unwatchable. Perhaps that’s because I prefer rational discussion from people with a variety of perspectives to an obnoxious lout screaming about the “worst person in the world.” Olbermann’s ego has become significantly enlarged since he left ESPN. Frankly, I can’t imagine how they’ll have room for him given all the other oversized egos in their facility. Then again, Craig James must have left an extra-large gap.

  59. torturedraiderfan says: Jul 15, 2013 3:04 PM

    “extremely entertaining and informative”……………that’s a matter of opinion. I throw the challenge flag on that one.

  60. tbutler704 says: Jul 15, 2013 3:16 PM

    Tonight on the Keith Olbermann Special Report: the profound stupidity of Rex Ryan and the NY Jets.

    I look forward to this.

  61. metitometin says: Jul 15, 2013 3:25 PM

    We need more Keith Olbermanns out there to counter the trash and conservative propaganda that we’re getting from FOX Noise. Fox Noise is destroying the country bit by bit, with no one willing to stand up to these extremist Republicans. Thank God Olbermann has the guts to stand up to these morons.

  62. randomcommenter says: Jul 15, 2013 3:26 PM

    Why do people think this guy is talented? He keeps telling us how smart he is and he likes to use big words. Is that all it takes to land your own show these days?

    Even if you’re a liberal and agree with him, I don’t know how you can stand this guy.

    ESPN should give Van Pelt and Rusillo a talk show on TV. They are the last 2 guys on the network who talk sports. Everyone else is trying to build their own brand or thinks they are a stand up comic.

    Per Deadspin, ESPN ratings are down 32%. Stuff like this is why.

    They should use Olbermann as an internal stupidity mole hunt. Anybody who thinks giving him his own show is a good idea should be fired.

  63. chrisrsports says: Jul 15, 2013 3:51 PM

    I can’t believe the hate. I don’t think any of these right wing haters ever watched 10 minutes of Countdown when it was on MSNBC. Keith liked to call out the W admin for their lies and point out other right wing hypocrites with his ‘worst person’ bit. He had a good mix of outrage and humor. His ‘special comments’ were extremely well thought out and he used facts and logic to make his points.

    ESPN is awful. I wish they wouldn’t hire Keith because then he will only talk sports.

  64. jayquintana says: Jul 15, 2013 3:51 PM

    I’d rather watch Olbermann than Stephan A. Smith, Skip Baylis, and Berman.

  65. rajbais says: Jul 15, 2013 3:52 PM

    It’s okay to bring back Keith, but it’s a bad idea to have a late night show.

    No one watches sports talk shows late at night particularly when Conan, Leno, and Letterman are on.

    They’ll watch games and that’s it and a late night show with KO will likely fail as badly as Jay Mohr’s did nearly a decade ago.

    Don’t forget, Stephen A. Smith and late night programming weren’t a good mix either and I find his sports intellect unfairly dismissed as screaming.

  66. rajbais says: Jul 15, 2013 3:54 PM

    As for Bill Simmons, who cares!

    He’s former non-conformist media personality that is now a Miami Heat hating, excessive sports morality pushing talking head that’s in his twilight.

    Nothing lasts forever like the possible KO late night show.

  67. rcali says: Jul 15, 2013 3:56 PM

    Well at least he’s not a part of an open murder investigation…i.e. Ray Lewis.

  68. keylimelight says: Jul 15, 2013 3:57 PM

    I like Keith Olbermann.

    I can understand why there is so much hate for him because he sounds like a blowhard and, in fact, IS a blowhard–and so what. Politics aside, he is articulate, glib and I get his sense of humor.

    Last time I looked, ESPN is a SPORTS network–not a political propaganda entity–so yeah, I’d watch. And I suspect even those who live to have their outrage buttons pushed, you know, the self-righteous, self-certain know-it-alls, will tune in too.

    Team him up with DP and you’d have good ratings, in my view.

  69. cmarsh164 says: Jul 15, 2013 4:01 PM

    you stated olbermann was a popular and polarizing (and extremely entertaining and informative) evening news and analysis show.
    where did you get that? he’s a complete idiot and Marxist. no body listened to him anyway. its espn’s problem if they hire him. I wont watch.

  70. jstsain says: Jul 15, 2013 4:04 PM

    I will be glad to see a thinking person on the airwaves!

  71. damnsureis says: Jul 15, 2013 4:05 PM

    The last sentence confused me when you mentioned talent. Isn’t this about Keith Olberman?

  72. pwcis says: Jul 15, 2013 4:25 PM

    I’d rather watch the same episode of SportsCenter for the third time in a row than watch a Keith Olbermann-hosted talk show.

  73. jgedgar70 says: Jul 15, 2013 4:31 PM

    Olberman is just like Chris Berman – a funny, engaging sports show host who has run his schtick into the ground and stopped being funny about 10 years ago. I loved him & Patrick on SportsCenter in the ’90s, but the act eventually wore thin, just like Berman’s act has. I never watch SportsCenter anymore and am not inclined to watch whatever show they create for Olberman to bring him back.

    Now, if they want to set up a “loser leave TV” wrestling cage match or MMA match between Olberman and Simmons, I’ll gladly pay $50 to watch that.

  74. hatesycophants says: Jul 15, 2013 4:45 PM

    What’s it like to never have an original thought? You tune in to your favorite (all of them) right wing extremist, he fills your empty head with idiocy and sells you goods full of high fructose corn syrup, you regurgitate said idiocy in forums like this.

    That’s no way to go through life.

  75. joemontanaflaccid says: Jul 15, 2013 5:09 PM

    The Olbermann and Bayless show, would drive ratings up

  76. mackcarrington says: Jul 15, 2013 6:23 PM

    If you lived in Los Angeles 30 years ago, you know that Keith Olbermann was at his absolute best doing local sports on KTLA channel 5. he was pure genius. As soon as he went ESPN he was never the same and has been skiing downhill ever since.

  77. tinbender2000 says: Jul 15, 2013 6:48 PM

    There sure are lot of conservative folks on here today afraid of someone with a brain.

  78. nutsacker says: Jul 15, 2013 9:28 PM

    Fact. The top ten states in college educated people per capita are all blue states. Fact. The top ten states in adult illiterates per capita are all red states.

  79. jrcoop says: Jul 15, 2013 9:53 PM

    Late-night talk show… good, I’ll be asleep.

  80. jrcoop says: Jul 15, 2013 10:00 PM

    chrisrsports says: Jul 15, 2013 3:51 PM

    I can’t believe the hate. I don’t think any of these right wing haters ever watched 10 minutes of Countdown when it was on MSNBC. Keith liked to call out the W admin for their lies and point out other right wing hypocrites with his ‘worst person’ bit. He had a good mix of outrage and humor. His ‘special comments’ were extremely well thought out and he used facts and logic to make his points.

    ESPN is awful. I wish they wouldn’t hire Keith because then he will only talk sports.
    ==================================
    I could only make it up to 5 min. That’s my tolerance limit for ignorance.

  81. rockee3 says: Jul 15, 2013 10:06 PM

    Please joim me in tuning out when he is on. And let ESPN know about it

  82. dadsource says: Jul 15, 2013 10:55 PM

    Funny how someone with a biting sarcastic wit that no one with an ounce of class would have the audacity to utter in public is hailed as ‘thinking’…..I’m thinking that many of the things I think should not be said out loud, but rethought and carefully placed as commentary or analysis, not pure insults. If that is ‘thinking’, then you need to go back to the playground to match the mentality of the ‘loudest voice wins’……..

  83. danbroccolo says: Jul 15, 2013 11:44 PM

    I do not understand where all this hate comes from for Olberman. Just because he is intellegent, has the courage to call out all the dumb asses in the tea party for what they are, the real commies and taliban on this planet, and yes he does this with wit and wisdom.
    I still and always will miss the fact he is not on tv. I never missed and always considered his show must see tv and whole heartedly look forward to his triumphant return to tv wherever that may be. All you haters, please keep you stupid opinions to yourself.

  84. blacknyellablacknyella says: Jul 16, 2013 12:19 AM

    I literally muted Sunday Night Football when he was on their pre-game show. He’s a pompous a h0le and one of the most unlikable guys on the planet. Bad move, ESPN! Love Dan Patrick’s talk show, btw.

  85. noncentsicle says: Jul 16, 2013 12:24 AM

    I’ve never seen the appeal of this guy. Ever.

  86. blacknyellablacknyella says: Jul 16, 2013 12:29 AM

    Shouldn’t you be at a Trayvon march, tinbender?

  87. TheWizard says: Jul 16, 2013 1:03 AM

    Fox Noise is destroying the country bit by bit, with no one willing to stand up to these extremist Republicans

    Fox News gives conservatives a seat at the table, something no other network did for the previous 40 years.

    This makes liberals furious.

    Olberman was great back in the day on SportsCenter, but that ship has long sailed.

  88. lanjoith says: Jul 16, 2013 1:05 AM

    I watch NFL Network for football news & MLB Network for baseball news. I couldn’t care less about basketball & hockey. I haven’t watched ESPN for news in years.

    KO is a genuinely rotten person.

  89. misteranderson41 says: Jul 16, 2013 1:31 AM

    Come back Keith! I miss Countdown & The Big Show

  90. chrisrsports says: Jul 16, 2013 10:15 AM

    It must really strike a nerve when someone has a different opinion about something, and then they back it up with sound logic and facts. You are all just proving why we need Keith Olbermann back on TV, just not on ESPN. He should be on HBO after/before Bill Maher or on Showtime. I am not going to watch any sports talk show on TV, especially on ESPN.

  91. chrisrsports says: Jul 16, 2013 10:18 AM

    You sound like an expert in ignorance!

  92. schrutebeetfarms says: Jul 16, 2013 1:24 PM

    “Olbermann hosted a popular and polarizing (and extremely entertaining and informative) evening news and analysis show. ”

    Popular must have taken on a much different meaning recently.

  93. issa1100 says: Jul 16, 2013 2:51 PM

    Keith has his opinions I just want to know why we have to divide each other by red and blue when there is so many different shades of each of those colors, come on america, u are all embarrassing yourselves on here instead of standing up against oppression!

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