Mr. Olbermann, who has a colorful history of fighting with bosses and getting fired, is famously mercurial and thin-skinned. (Full disclosure: this critic was named “Worst Person in the World” at least once by Mr. Olbermann when he was on MSNBC.) Even on the air, he looks as if at any minute he could lose his anchorman cool — a little like Jack Paar, who was famous for tearing up and sometimes walking out in the early days of the “The Tonight Show.”
For 58 minutes Monday night, they delivered an impressive premiere on the new “Countdown” show. Strong production values, reasonable discussions and no ugly over-the-top slanderous attacks on anyone. And then with only a few minutes left, Olbermann, who behaved like a professional broadcaster most of the night, teed it up for contributor Markos Moulitsas to tear into on-air talent and management at MSNBC…
The biggest differences with the MSNBC version of Countdown were cosmetic. The production level at Current is decidedly a step down, and even though the show itself was largely unchanged, the generic New York backdrop and the graphics had a 1980s-local-newscast look to them.
In keeping with the familiar part of the night and name, the new “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” felt very much like the old one–albeit with fewer corporate feathers to ruffle overhead, and, more than likely, fewer viewers.
Acting like a liberal cartoon drawn by Ann Coulter – president of the not-helping-their-cause-club – Olbermann ranged from dry and dull to overblown and pompous.
In a poll yesterday we asked, “will you watch the debut?” Here are the results. So today we ask, “what did you think?”