Keith Olbermann to Return to ESPN, Host Nightly Show

Tim KeeneyContributor IJuly 17, 2013

Keith Olbermann is returning to ESPN, according to a press release from the sports media network

Per that release: 

Keith Olbermann, who worked for ESPN from 1992-1997, will return to the company with a late-night program Monday-Friday on ESPN2, starting Monday, Aug. 26, it was announced by ESPN President John Skipper. Titled Olbermann, the show will generally be presented at 11 p.m. ET from ABC’s Times Square studios in New York City.

The program will focus on the day’s relevant sports topics through a mix of perspective and commentary, interviews, contributors, panel discussions and highlights.

“Keith is a one-of-a-kind personality and these shows will be appointment viewing for that very reason,” Skipper said. “Keith brings a blend of editorial sophistication and unpredictability — you can never be sure what you’ll get. Olbermann on ESPN2 gives viewers the quality late-night complement to ESPN’s SportsCenter in the same way we’ve developed distinct show options across our networks the rest of the day.”

Olbermann noted: “Apart from the opportunity to try to create a nightly hour of sports television that no fan can afford to miss, I’m overwhelmed by the chance to begin anew with ESPN. I’ve been gone for 16 years and not one day in that time has passed without someone connecting me to the network. Our histories are indelibly intertwined and frankly I have long wished that I had the chance to make sure the totality of that story would be a completely positive one. I’m grateful to friends and bosses – old and new – who have permitted that opportunity to come to pass. I’m not going to waste it.”

News of the show was first reported by The New York Times' James Andrew Miller.

Olbermann, of course, is famously known to most in the sports world for his memorable tandem work with Dan Patrick on SportsCenter when the network's flagship program really began to take off in the early '90s.

Since his departure in 1997, Olbermann has worked on a variety of different projects and shows, including Major League Baseball on FoxThe Keith Olbermann Evening News on Fox Sports Net and Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, and he served as co-host of the Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio in the mid-2000s. He most recently ended a contentious relationship and reached a major settlement with Current TV.

Olbermann is also contracted to work on Turner's Major League Baseball postseason coverage

Olbermann's résumé makes him a truly unique figure, but he will be able to showcase only a little bit of that versatility with this new two-year pact, according to Miller.

In addition to sports, pop culture and current events will likely be frequented, but politics will remain off limits during his ESPN2 time slot. 

Based on his history and how things ended last time with the company, this is surprising news. But there's no denying his appeal. The 54-year-old is easily one of the best in the business, and he will almost assuredly boost ratings. 

For a company that has gone through significant troubles of late, that has to be a major draw.