Last month, Keith Olbermann‘s bosses at ESPN and Disney said they were “blessed” to have him back — after very public stints at and exits from MSNBC and Current TV. Not to mention his nasty retreat from ESPN in 1997. (The network expunged any trace of Olbermann from its 25th anniversary SportsCenter “Reunion Week.”) So there was plenty of anticipation about how his new weeknightly ESPN2 show Olbermann would play. As it turned out, there was snark but no fury. The issues he touched on mostly were East Coast-specific and not really controversial. He didn’t get into any of the recent headline-making stories involving his new network (the NFL concussions documentary, a new rival in Fox Sports 1, Nate Silver’s hiring). There was a bare-bones set and no splashy graphics, hinting that the Worldwide Leader is content to put the focus solely on Olbermann. The results were, of all things, pretty dull. READ MORE »
One week after ESPN announced it had signed Keith Olbermann to host a weekday late-night show on ESPN2, the guy who’d been savaging the place since it showed him the door nearly two decades back came to the Summer TCA Press Tour and said the reunion was practically inevitable and it had been a great place to work. “The reality is that whatever I have thought of ESPN when I worked there — and I thought I had a pretty good perspective about the place — I didn’t know what I was talking about,” he told TV critics and reporters in the room. “The places I went afterwards made ESPN look like a Let’s Applaud Keith session for five years.” Back in 2007 — a decade after he left ESPN — he told Dave Letterman, “ I don’t burn bridges, I burn rivers. You burn a bridge, you can possibly build a new bridge. When there’s no river anymore, that’s a lot of trouble.” On Wednesday, however, he said if you burn a bridge, “take the tunnel.”
One of those Worse Than ESPN places at which he labored — Current TV — was so bad, comparing ESPN to it was like comparing “color TV to radio.”
He had a million of ‘em. The critics lapped it up.
In his first TV gig since leaving Current TV, Keith Olbermann has been tapped by Turner Sports as host of TBS’ Major League Baseball postseason studio show, joining analyst and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley. Additionally, Ron Darling, who joined TBS as an MLB analyst in 2008, has inked a long-term extension. And Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. will transition from the studio to the broadcast booth full time this postseason. Ripken, who primarily has served as a TBS studio analyst for the last six years, will join Ernie Johnson (play-by-play) and Darling as a three-man commentator team throughout the 2013 MLB Postseason, including the network’s coverage of the Division Series and exclusive telecast of the National League Championship Series.
UPDATE, 4:54PM: A day after a deal was reach in Keith Olbermann’s $50 million lawsuit against Current TV, the former TV host and his former employer have issued a short joint statement officially confirming the settlement:
“The parties are pleased to announce that a settlement has occurred, and that the terms are confidential. Nothing more will be disclosed regarding the settlement.”
PREVIOUSLY, TUESDAY PM: Looks like Bay Area mediation worked where LA litigation could not for Keith Olbermann in his $50 million lawsuit against Current TV. A daylong session in San Francisco at the offices of Antonio Piazza of Mediation Negotiations has led to a settlement between the parties. While specifics of the agreement are confidential, a source tells Deadline that Olbermann is set to receive a significant payout from Current. The former ESPN and MSNBC anchor’s deal also means it won’t impact the Al Gore co-founded Current’s recent $500 million sale to Al Jazeera. Late last week, in heavily redacted court documents filed under seal in LA Superior Court, the former Countdown frontman requested an April 24 hearing for a summary judgment to rule in his favor over Current.
Olbermann sued his former employer for breach of contact and other claims on April 5, 2012 for the full multimillion-dollar sum of his five-year contract, this after Current fired Olbermann that March after less than a year at the network. On April 6, Current filed a cross complaint claiming it had “every right to terminate Mr. Olbermann’s services.” Both parties are expected to file documents relatively soon to dismiss the case.
The ongoing sideshow that is Keith Olbermann and his employment woes just continues. Within days before a high level mediation meeting in San Francisco, the one-time TV host is now seeking a summary judgment in his $50 million lawsuit against Current TV (now being sold to Al Jazeera). In heavily redacted court documents (read them here) filed under seal in LA Superior Court on Thursday the former Countdown frontman wants an April 24 hearing to rule in his favor over his former employers. The documents filed this week are Olbermann’s evidence why the court should rule for him. While most of the document is blanked out, the introduction to the 25-page filing gives a pretty good sense of where the former talking head is coming from:
Current breached 16(a)(i) of the Agreement by making disparaging and derogatory statements in the public and to its staff about Mr. Olbermann and by disclosing confidential terms of the parties’ Agreement to the press. Current breached 2(a)(ii) of the Agreement by using Mr. Olbermann’s likeness in connection with advertising the Program properties, all without his prior approval. Current breached 5(c) by using Olbermann’s name, without his approval, in connection with a commercial for AT&T. Current breached 2(a) and 2(b)(ii) by denying Mr. Olbermann editorial control over “Program Specials” broadcast on Current, and breached 2(a)(i) by refusing Mr. Olbermann editorial control of the website when it denied his request to stream segments of Countdown over the Website. Current breached 13(d) of the agreement by improperly terminating Mr. Olbermann’s employment.
Olbermann and his lawyers are scheduled to meet with Current TV executives on March 12 at the offices of Antonio Piazza of Mediation Negotiations in San Francisco. Former Vice-President and Current co-founder Al Gore and Current president David Bohrman are expected to attend.
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
The liberal cable stronghold Current TV hosted a breakfast this morning at TCA complete with its very own on-site radio show. The syndicated Stephanie Miller Show was broadcast in the background and simulcast live on Current, as it is every weekday. In fact, the network has ramped up its homegrown live programming significantly since the beginning of the year after losing its signature primetime show hosted by Keith Olbermann (who departed at the end of March in an acrimonious huff, followed in April by the inevitable multi-pronged lawsuit over his termination). The Olbermann situation “is going to be in litigation for the rest of my life,” said Current president David Bohrman with only a trace of exaggeration. But he was wistful about the lingering impact that Olbermann had on the network. “It’s unfortunate (how things ended),” he said, “but Keith was transformative in that when we put his program on, it really showed (Current partners) Joel (Hyatt) and Al (Gore) what we should be doing. And to that end, it was critical. It helped set us on the right path”.
Current California Lieutenant Governor and longtime liberal talking head Gavin Newsom has landed his own show on Current TV. The former San Francisco mayor, who briefly ran for California governor in 2009, will host the weekly …
Conservative media are immensely enjoying the legal combat which erupted last week between Keith Olbermann and Al Gore’s Current TV cable network. The lawsuits and countersuits have prompted headlines like “Epic Ego Fail” to describe Olbermann. But Gore, too, is coming in for ridicule as shown by the Internet illustrations above. “Would anyone like some popcorn as two of the biggest meatheads in cable news duke it out?” wrote Breitbart.com. “One behaves as though he invented broadcasting, the other claims he invented the Internet.” Still another right-wing article hypes the battle between Gore and “favorite lefty TV spokesboor” Olbermann, even claiming the day Olbermann sued the employer (April 5th) ”will henceforth be known among conservatives as ‘National Schadenfreude Day’. … Keith is dissing Al as a goof, which makes Keith what kind of doof for being suckered by him?” For that matter, what kind of dork goes on Letterman and describes himself as “a $10 million chandelier” while detailing what is basically a run-of-the-mill employment dispute. Which prompted the right-wing Washington Times to snark in a headline: “Yes, Olbermann is like a $10 million chandelier: Fragile and vastly overpriced.” Even more to the point, Olbermann’s $70 million lawsuit and Current’s countersuit over his $50 million TV contract confirms conservatives’ worst stereotypes about the left-wing media. It turns out they really are limousine liberals: among examples of Olbermann’s misbehavior, Current cites more than $50,000 spent among 8 limousine companies. And so on.
Much to the glee of the GOP, the legal battle also lays bare the dysfunction inside Current TV run by the former Democraic Vice President Al Gore and his longtime pal Joel Hyatt, who was 2000′s National Finance Chair for the Democratic Party. Liberals wondering why the channel doesn’t get more audience traction only need to read Olbermann’s legal complaint for the answers.
In his first TV appearance since his ouster from Current TV, Keith Olbermann guests on CBS‘ Late Show With David Letterman tonight. In a preview released by CBS, Olbermann and Letterman talk about Olbermann’s short stint at Current TV. “I screwed up, I screwed up really big on this,” Olbermann …
After his abrupt exit from MSNBC last year, Keith Olbermann made his first TV appearance on CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman. He will do it again after his latest acrimonious departure, this time from Current TV. Olbermann will sit down with Letterman on Tuesday. During his previous visit, Olbermann called the offer to join Current TV “manna from heaven.” That probably won’t be the choice of words he will use about his now-ex-employer this time around. Last May, Letterman asked Olbermann about the nine employers he has left during his career and the state of the bridges he’s left behind. “Some people have said, I did not burn the bridges,” Olbermann said. “I have napalmed them. My argument was I did not burn the bridges, I burnt the rivers.” Ten months later, the only thing that has changed is the number of jilted employers, which has climbed to 10. Here is a video of last year’s chat:
UPDATE, 2:45 PM: Olbermann’s fighting back: “Keith’s termination is baseless,” his lawyer Patricia Glaser says. “We will sue them for their improper conduct. They made a bad decision. They can expect a bad result.” And here’s Olbermann’s statement, an apology to viewers for joining Current which he says was a “sincere and well-intentioned gesture on my part, but in retrospect a foolish one”:
I’d like to apologize to my viewers and my staff for the failure of Current TV.
Editorially, Countdown had never been better. But for more than a year I have been imploring Al Gore and Joel Hyatt to resolve our issues internally, while I’ve been not publicizing my complaints, and keeping the show alive for the sake of its loyal viewers and even more loyal staff. Nevertheless, Mr. Gore and Mr. Hyatt, instead of abiding by their promises and obligations and investing in a quality news program, finally thought it was more economical to try to get out of my contract.
I don’t know why Current avoided calling itself a politically progressive channel with its new ad campaign and slogan: “We Are Politically Direct.” If you’re direct, then why not just say what you are? In any event, here’s the campaign’s first spot for Current’s primetime lineup with Keith Olbermann, Cenk Uygur, …
Will Keith Olbermann Control All Election Coverage On Current TV Or Won’t He? He Gets Channel To Blink – But It’s Just A Wink
EXCLUSIVE: This week there was a rift. Then tonight what looked like an outright win for Keith Olbermann over his current employer Current TV. But now the rift is back on after the channel is ”doing a complete 180,” sources tell me. Here’s what happened: Earlier tonight Olbermann was assured by Current TV that it was giving him ”carte blanche” to plan and program and book participants for the entire 4-hour block of New Hampshire GOP presidential primary coverage this coming Tuesday night. And that wasn’t all. “It can be said that Current has seen the light. It can be assumed that Keith will have control over election coverage going forward,” one of my sources assured me. But later tonight Current TV changed its mind and now is refusing to give Olbermann the time slot. Stay tuned. I have a feeling this is going to seesaw throughout the weekend between Current TV and its chief news officer/controversial liberal commentator.