Late last month, after a Keith Olbermann-voiced video essay appeared on SportsCenter, the former ESPN anchor and host warned not to “read too much into” his brief appearance on the network. But on Friday, the New York Post reported that Olbermann will appear on PTI next week, and now we can’t help but read a whole lot into it.
Per the Post’s Andrew Marchand, Olbermann will host alongside Tony Kornheiser on Thursday and Friday, in place of Michael Wilbon. This will be Olbermann’s highest profile appearance yet in what we can now call a third stint with ESPN.
Olbermann’s return began last January when he appeared on ESPN Radio for the station’s 25th anniversary and continued in October when he wrote a piece about the World Series for ESPN.com. Then came the video essay last month and several others that have since followed. The Post reports that ESPN currently has no plans to bring back Olbermann full-time, but clearly the network is open to giving him a larger role.
Olbermann, of course, first worked at ESPN during the 1990s, hosting the 11 p.m. ET SportsCenter alongside Dan Patrick. He left in 1997 and spent a decade and a half bouncing between gigs covering both sports and politics for an array of networks, then returned to ESPN in 2013 as host of his own eponymous talk show on ESPN2. In July 2015, ESPN announced it was cancelling the show, and since then Olbermann has mostly laid low, while hosting a web series for GQ called The Resistance with Keith Olbermann from September 2016 through November 2017.
Awful Announcing has been told Olbermann has turned down offers in both sports and political television out of a preference for remaining in New York City.
After warning us last month not to read into his appearance on ESPN, Olbermann wrote that “All of human history divides evenly into times I’m WORKING for ESPN and times I’m GOING TO BE working soon for ESPN.” It seems we have officially returned to the “working for ESPN” side.