Olbermann Gets Expanded Role With ESPN Programs

Keith Olbermann, an early ESPN star who has returned to the network, is getting an expanded role with the sports giant.

Olbermann will continue to develop regular features for SportsCenter, ESPN said. He will also be making appearances on PTI and Outside the Lines.

Olbermann will do play-by-play for a few of ESPN baseball telecasts and will host some editiions of Baseball Tonight. He will be at the MLB All Star Game, playoffs and World Series, creating segments for SportsCenter.

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The anchor will also make appearances as a guest host and call-in guest on ESPN radio shows. Olbermann will be calling the radio play-by-play with analyst Jim Bowden for Astros at Yankees on Memorial Day.

“Keith’s smart, creative perspective on the world of sports always informs and entertains fans,” Williamson said. “His varied collection of ESPN appearances over the last several months has provided a great model for utilizing his distinctive voice and this new agreement will extend his contributions even further,” said Norby Williamson, executive VP, production and managing editor at ESPN.

For ESPN, Olbermann is a link to the days when the network dominated the sports landscape. In recent years, ESPN has been better known for losing subscribers, falling profits and layoffs. ESPN recently got a new president in Jimmy Pitaro and has launched a high-profile direct-to-consumer product, ESPN+, in order to appeal to over-the-top viewers and offset the damage being done by cord-cutting.

Olbermann’s lastest stint with ESPN started in January. He hosted Olbermann from 2013 to 2015 on ESPN2 and was a SportsCenter anchor from 1992 to 1997. In between he had stints doing news and sports on MSNBC and Fox News.

“Since we started this, my 6th separate tenure with ESPN, in January, I’ve found the variety of assignments to be most the fun and energizing of all my stints,” Obermann said. “Adding stuff like being a rookie 59-year old play-by-play guy, plus the Rip Van Winkle of SportsCenter, only adds to the smorgasbord. Can’t wait, and at my age, I shouldn’t.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.