Keith Olbermann and ESPN part ways for a second time
Sports commentator Keith Olbermann’s ESPN2 show, “Olbermann,” is ending this month, the network announced Wednesday.
“While the show’s content was distinctive and extremely high quality, we ultimately made a business decision to move in another direction,” ESPN said in a statement. “We wish Keith nothing but the best and trust that his skill and ability will lead him to another promising endeavor.”
The show made its debut in August 2013. It was Olbermann’s second stint with ESPN.
Olbermann first joined the network in 1992 and cohosted “SportsCenter” until 1997, and he’d clashed with his bosses during and after that job. At one point, he appeared on a talk show and referred to ESPN’s Connecticut headquarters as a “godforsaken place.” After he left the company in 1997, he said management barred him from returning to their offices.
His time on “Olbermann” wasn’t all smooth sailing either.
The host was suspended for a week in February after exchanging a series of testy tweets with Penn State students and supporters. In those tweets, Olbermann heavily criticized the college after Penn State’s football wins, which had been stripped in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, were reinstated.
When Olbermann returned from the suspension, he spent nearly seven minutes of air time apologizing.
A representative for Olbermann did not respond to requests for comment.
Olbermann is just as well known for his outspoken political views as he is for his views on sports.
In 2003, he began hosting MSNBC’s “Countdown With Keith Olbermann.” The staunchly liberal Olbermann used the platform to blast conservatives, especially Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly.
MSNBC and Olbermann abruptly split in 2011. In a six-minute farewell sign-off at the end of the final “Countdown” episode, Olbermann refrained from specifying what led to his departure, but his relationship with the network had grown tense.
The previous year, Olbermann was suspended for two shows after it was revealed that he had made political donations to three Democratic congressional candidates. Those contributions violated NBC News’ ethics policy for news staff members.
Olbermann jumped from MSNBC to Current TV, where he hosted a new show, “Countdown,” for a year. The end of that run was particularly acrimonious, with Current cofounders Al Gore and Joel Hyatt announcing that “the values of respect, openness, collegiality and loyalty to our viewers ... are no longer reflected in our relationship with Keith Olbermann.”
Olbermann soon filed a $70-million lawsuit against Current, alleging breach of contract and calling Gore and Hyatt “dilettantes portraying entertainment industry executives.” The suit was settled a year later; terms were not disclosed.
The complete guide to home viewing
Get Screen Gab for weekly recommendations, analysis, interviews and irreverent discussion of the TV and streaming movies everyone’s talking about.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.