Keith Olbermann will return to ESPN this week in a limited capacity, co-hosting “Pardon the Interruption” with Tony Kornheiser on Thursday and Friday.
Olbermann confirmed the news to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, who first reported it. He will temp for Michael Wilbon, Kornheiser’s usual partner.
Given Olbermann’s past work, it’s a move that won’t likely change the perception in some quarters that ESPN has a liberal bias, but it’s also a natural step. Olbermann became a star co-hosting the 11 p.m. “SportsCenter” with Dan Patrick from 1992 until leaving amid controversy in 1997.
(As Marchand’s report reminds us, ESPN vice president Mike Soltys famously said of Olbermann, “He didn’t burn bridges here; he napalmed them.”)
In the years since, Olbermann, 59, has offered commentary on politics and sports, landing at times at MSNBC, Current TV, Fox Sports and GQ, with which he recently hosted the webshow “The Resistance with Keith Olbermann.” ESPN again entered the picture in recent years, beginning with his “Olbermann” show after games and in late afternoons on ESPN2 from 2013 to 2015. Over the past year or so, he has appeared sporadically on “Outside the Lines” and “SportsCenter” and on ESPN radio.
Whether this is the beginning of something more is anybody’s guess. Maybe even Olbermann’s. As he tweeted at the end of January, “Don’t read too much into this: All of human history divides evenly into times I’m WORKING for ESPN and times I’m GOING TO BE working soon for ESPN.”
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