Los Angeles – Keith Olbermann revealed new details about his upcoming ESPN2 late night talk show to the audience at the TCA press tour Wednesday, including that it will include a “Worst Person in the Sports World” segment.
“Worst Person in the World” was a regular feature on Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC from 2005 until he discontinued it in 2010 for playing into angry rhetoric. He revived the segment again in the Current TV version of Countdown, only to suspend it again in response to the Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke controversy.
On Wednesday, Olbermann said he was reviving the segment again because “people seemed to like that one.” He said also the show would feature commentary, highlights, interviews, and analysis while differentiating itself from ESPN’s flagship SportsCenter.
“You’re not going to be able to bring a new component to it. Every sports program is going to be made up of a lot of the same elements and we intend to use them,” he said. “The secret to it obviously is the recipe and the mix.”
While Olbermann said the show will unleash things from the time capsule of his former career at ESPN each night, he noted the influence of the Internet will make this show much different than when he hosted SportsCenter back in the 1990s. But now, as then, he will base the show on the same concept that it’s audience is coming in knowing 50-100% of the sports news and his job is to tell them why it happened.
“We’re going to do that same kind of concept but in the 21st century matter,” he said.
Though Olbermann’s contentious exit from ESPN in 1997 and later messy break-ups with MSNBC and Current TV makes his an unlikely comeback, he assured the audience he had learned from his past experiences.
“One of the reasons that this is going to work really well, is the people involved in it, the first thing they asked is what do you want to do? When we start from point of view where my opinion is not only solicited but respected, that’s when I’m comfortable,” he said, adding that he’s also listening to other people more by “about 193,000 percent.”
There’s still no love lost between Olbermann and his most recent employer, Current TV, however. Asked whether he could confidently put himself behind a new ESPN2 show in a way he couldn’t with his Current TV program (where he complained about production values), he replied there is no comparison between ESPN2 in 1993 and Current TV now. “It’s the difference between color television and radio in terms of quality,” he quipped.
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