05 June 2013

Keith Olbermann is making his comeback with...TBS?

Now, we finally know what will be the next step in the career of Keith Olbermann, one that has taken him from CNN, to local television in Los Angeles, to ESPN, to MSNBC, to FOX Sports, then back to MSNBC, to Current until being fired from the latter in late March of last year. That is about seven different locations in 30 years. As we all know, Olbermann has never been known as being an easy guy to deal with, which shows in his moving around the industry.

But he will be coming back on the air, and it will be with ESPN. No that's not it, it will be with MSNBC. That isn't it either, because he will be returning to the airwaves on TBS's MLB postseason coverage. Wait, what?

Yes, Olbermann will be hosting the TBS studio show for this postseason and potentially next year's as well. He will be paired with current studio analyst Dennos Eckersley and likely another analyst at the Turner studios in Atlanta for the Wild Card and Divisional Series, and then on-location for the National League Championship Series. And yes, if this seems like a random landing spot for Olbermann to you, that's perfectly fine, because I feel the same way.

But I love this move and here is why. First, while he is a very polaring TV personality due to his liberal politicizing, nobody can deny that Olbermann is a talented TV personality, particularly on sports, where he got his start. I know there are many folks like myself that wanted Olbermann to get back into doing sports and now here it is. And as has been pointed out, Olbermann is a true baseball nut and has just about an encyclopedic knowledge of the game. He is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and when he was 14, he wrote a book called The Major League Coaches: 1921-1973. At 14. He also has experience hosting baseball studio coverage before, as he did it for several years at FOX and also did it at NBC.

Another reason why this is a strong move is that TBS's studio show has lacked really any watchability, if you catch my drift. I mean, Matt Winer is a solid host (although you don't get any better than Ernie Johnson) and Eckersley is solid as was Cal Ripken, who is moving to the booth, but the show was a little bland, and really paled in comparison to their NBA counterparts (then again, what doesn't?). Considering that TBS's studio show is only used for the postseason, that's probably is to be expected. But now by bringing in Olbermann, they have that star-caliber presence that they have lacked even since they signed the first deal with MLB in 2006 that can all but singlehandedly attract viewers.

Normally, it would be hard for TBS to get people talking about their postseason coverage in June, but with this move, that objective has been met, for the right reasons.

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