Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Olbermann joins "Football Night In America"

Fans of Countdown with Keith Olbermann will be delighted to know that the program's host has been named by NBC to co-host their Sunday night NFL pregame show Football Night In America starting this fall.

Following that big contract extension he received to continue to continue to host Countdown, the network is working to get its money's worth. NBC Universal Sports Chairman Dick Ebersol announced yesterday that Olbermann will be joining host Bob Costas, co-host Cris Collinsworth, analysts Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber and reporter Peter King. This assignment marks Olbermann's first network sports assignment in six years.

"Keith helped to elevate the medium of sports television earlier in his career, and now he will add his original style and flair to Football Night in America," said Ebersol. "I'm delighted to welcome him back into the NBC Sports family."

"This will, obviously, be great fun and a great privilege for me," said Olbermann. "To be reunited with NBC Sports, and Dick, and the entire production team, produces all the warm-and-fuzzies you'd be expecting. And even if they weren't old friends and colleagues, to get to work with the nonpareil of sportscasters in Bob, and the most insightful and honest of sports analysts in Cris, will be rewarding and challenging. I hope I can hold up my end of the equation."

As die-hard fans know, Olbermann has a vast amount of experience in sports broadcasting, having been co-host of ESPN's SportsCenter from 1992-1997 with Dan Patrick (Olbermann appears daily on Patrick's ESPN Radio show). In 1997, Olbermann moved over to NBC in 1997 and did double duty in news (for both MSNBC and NBC) and sports (the World Series). Tired of the whole Monica Lewinsky thing, he worked at FOX Sports from 1997 to 2001 and worked with CNN and ABC Radio (doing sports) before returning to NBC in 2002. Over the years, he has written several books about both sports and news, with his first, "The Major League Coaches", penned at the age of 14. Olbermann's main sports passion is baseball, but is extremely knowledgeable in all competitive sports. He has also written about sports for The New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, Sports Illustrated and Playboy.

And a double congratulations are in order as well, since TV Week, in its annual ranking, yesterday named Olbermann one of the Top Ten Most Powerful People in TV News for 2007, besting the likes of Katie Couric, Brian Williams and Matt Lauer, not to mention everyone at FOX 'News' besides Roger Ailes (ranked #1). Jon Stewart of The Daily Show also made the list, appearing at #10.

Also, fans of his most recent book, "The Worst Person in the World" will be happy to know that a new book, based on his Countdown "Special Comments," will be published next winter.

No doubt some are not happy about Olbermann's presence on NBC's football coverage. I guess these guys aren't ready for some football. Wingnuts everywhere are likely wondering how fair it is that Olbermann gets to go where Rush Limbaugh once tread and fizzled. Well, Keith is an actual sports guy. Limbaugh doesn't even look like he has ever exercised. And I highly doubt Olbermann will shove his foot in his mouth like Limbaugh infamously did.


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