The combustible combination of Keith Olbermann and ESPN are poised to join forces again with a latenight talkshow on ESPN2.
While an ESPN spokesman declined to comment, sources indicated that an announcement on the Olbermann talker could come as soon as Wednesday.
Last week, Bob Raissman of the New York Daily News reported the possibility of the Olbermann-ESPN2 reunion coming to fruition. As Raissman noted, the deal could steal attention from the August launch of cabler Fox Sports 1, which among other programming will have a weeknight show hosted by Regis Philbin, “Crowd Goes Wild.”
A premiere date for the Olbermann show has not been disclosed.
Olbermann was one of the most prominent faces on ESPN in the 1990s, when he co-hosted the marquee edition of “SportsCenter” with Dan Patrick. But there was a notorious falling out between the parties, and Olbermann went on to other jobs in both sports and news, most notably a long stint with MSNBC (highlighted by “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”), followed by a shorter one with Current TV that lasted under a year and eventually wound into a lawsuit, since settled.
Olbermann and ESPN prexy John Skipper reportedly had dinner early this year where the possibility of a return was broached. But at the time, Skipper told the New York Times that nothing moved forward.
“After the dinner, at that point, there was no real appropriate place for Keith to come back, nor did I feel like I was prepared to bring him back,” Skipper said.
The roller-coaster relations between Olbermann and ESPN in the 1990s were described in the 2012 book, “Those Guys Have All the Fun.”
“Everybody assumes there was a constant state of war there,” Olbermann was quoted as saying. “There were wars, but not continuous.”
Olbermann has been out of work for 15 months since parting with Current (receiving a substantial severance package), an exit that fueled the perception of him as someone with a penchant for leaving jobs rather abruptly, and often under acrimonious circumstances.
Still, he has maintained ties to his admirers via outlets such as social media, where he still commands close to 450,000 followers on Twitter.