Former MSNBC and Current TV host Keith Olbermann is returning to air. Olbermann has been named as the studio host for Turner Sports’ coverage of the Major League Baseball playoffs this Fall.
“It’s well known that Keith is a fan of the game and when you combine that with his studio experience, keen insight and passion for baseball and its history, he’ll add a new dimension to our MLB Postseason studio shows,” Turner Sports president David Levy said in a statement. “We’re excited to have him join Dennis [Eckersley] in studio, and look forward to Keith sharing his in-depth knowledge of the game, MLB teams and players with our viewers for three great weeks in October.”
Turner Sports says it has also signed analyst Ron Darling to a new, long-term deal, and that Cal Ripken Jr. will transition from the studio to the broadcast booth this postseason.
The news was first reported by the well-sourced James Andrew Miller on Twitter, with the equally well-sourced Marisa Guthrie adding the details in an item for The Hollywood Reporter.
The deal puts Olbermann in the same corporate family as Jeff Zucker, who ran NBC Universal when he became a star there. Zucker now runs CNN. As is par for the course in the TV world, Turner Sports talent routinely appear on CNN to promote big games. It is a guarantee that talent will be appearing on CNN to promote TBS’ MLB Playoff coverage. Whether that talent is Olbermann remains to be seen.
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Informal discussions with Turner began in December when Olbermann, his agent Nick Khan, at CAA, and David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports at Turner Broadcasting, met for lunch in New York. In fact, Olbermann and his representatives had exploratory talks with several networks as the nearly yearlong lawsuit was wending its way to a resolution.
Olbermann became a national name as the co-anchor of ESPN’s “SportsCenter” with Dan Patrick. After leaving MSNBC and being fired from Current, he filled in as a studio host on MLB Network. He also writes the “Baseball nerd” blog for MLB.com. Olbermann has also served as a MLB playoffs host for both NBC Sports and Fox Sports.