The news that Keith Olbermann had signed a deal with Turner Sports to host the Major League Baseball studio show on TBS during the playoffs this Fall caught many by surprise. Olbermann, who most recently hosted “Countdown” on Current TV, hasn’t been a full-time sports anchor in well over a decade.
“The last time I sat at a telephone news conference to announce that I was leaving politics to go to a baseball pregame show and sports in general in 1999, it was the first time I ever said I have absolutely no idea where my career is going,” Olbermann told reporters on a conference call today, responding to a question about whether he would do another politics show. “I have been so bad at predicting my own career future, as everybody else has, that it would be useless. This is what I’m doing and I can’t wait to get started.”
That said, the former MSNBC host did seem open to the possibility of doing other things… it is just that no other options seem imminent.
“[Am I] open to pursuing other things? Of course. Planning on it? No. Do I need to? Fortunately not. Whatever else might be out there…couldn’t be as compelling as this.”
“Let me make this perfectly clear, this is a Turner Sports arrangement with Keith, and we are extremely happy to have him” said Turner Sports president David Levy. “This has nothing to do with CNN, not a start to one thing to lead to another.”
Turner also announced a new, long-term contract extension with analyst Ron Darling, who it turns out has his own history with Olbermann.
“I have known Keith Olbermann since the day I started doing television,” Darling recalled. “He was on the top of the ladder, and I was as at the bottom of the ladder as you could get. He treated me like a colleague, treated me like a pro. I never forgot him.”
Olbermann, as it happens, has a long history with Turner as well. Aside from his stint at CNN, Olbermann because his TV career at the company.
“I go way back with this company, my first television job was with Turner,” Olbermann recalled. “Thirty years ago I anchored my first prime time sportscast on ‘TBS Evening News,’ if you can imagine that.”
TBS’ MLB playoff coverage is a far cry from the “TBS Evening News,” but for Olbermann, it is a high-profile return to television, on a program that will likely generate far higher ratings than any typical cable newscast