Keith Olbermann

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Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann (born January 27, 1959 in New York City, New York) is an American journalist and former sportscaster. He currently hosts Countdown with Keith Olbermann on MSNBC, an hour-long nightly newscast that counts down the top news stories of the day.


Early career

After earning his Bachelor of Science degree in communications arts from Cornell University in 1979, Olbermann began his career at UPI and RKO Radio before joining the nascent CNN in 1981. In 1984, he briefly worked as a sports anchor at WCVB-TV in Boston, before heading to Los Angeles to work at KTLA and KCBS. His work there earned him eleven Golden Mike Awards, and he was named Best Sportscaster by the California Associated Press three times.

Olbermann at ESPN

In 1992, Olbermann joined ESPN's SportsCenter, a position he held until 1997. His edition of SportsCenter was often hosted together with Dan Patrick, and the two became known as an anchor team. In 1995, Olbermann won a Cable ACE award for Best Sportscaster while co-anchoring the "big show" as he called it. Olbermann would later write a book called The Big Show about his experiences working at SportsCenter.

While at ESPN, Olbermann was instrumental in helping to launch ESPN Radio and ESPN2. However, he became increasingly unhappy with commuting to ESPN's studios in Bristol, Connecticut. Bristol's remote location and lack of an active social scene were particularly problematic for Olbermann because he was single, lived in New York City, and could not drive due to a head injury on a NYC subway car where his head got cought in a door. Olbermann's dissatisfaction with Bristol contributed to his ultimate departure from ESPN.

Olbermann is a dedicated baseball fan and historian of the sport. He has argued, for example, that New York Giants baseball player Fred Merkle should not be denied inclusion into the Baseball Hall of Fame simply because of a single baserunning mistake. Olbermann also took documentarian Ken Burns to task about the accuracy of Burns' television series Baseball, pointing out dozens of factual and anachronistic errors in Burns' documentary.

After SportsCenter

In 1997, Olbermann left ESPN to host his own primetime show on MSNBC, aptly named The Big Show. The news variety program covered three or four different topics in a one-hour broadcast. Olbermann also occasionally hosted the weekend edition of NBC Nightly News, and NBC Sports' coverage of the World Series.

When the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke in 1998, he began hosting another news program, White House In Crisis. Olbermann says he became frustrated when the Lewinsky story would constantly consume his regular show. He left MSNBC after 17 months to return to sportscasting, although he has said that even if Lewinsky never happened, he still would have left to return to sports.

In 1998, Olbermann became an anchor and senior correspondent on for Fox Sports News, a nightly sportscast similar to SportsCenter, which aired nightly on cable's Fox Sports Net. While at Fox, Olbermann was host of the World Series again and of Fox Broadcasting's baseball Game of the Week.

Return to reporting

Olbermann left Fox Sports in 2001 for "other opportunities" and kept a relatively low-profile. He worked for a time as a regular contributor on CNN and provided twice-daily sports commentary on the ABC Radio Network. The attacks of September 11, 2001 provided the impetus for Olbermann to return to full fledged news reporting. He won an Edward R. Murrow Award for reporting from the site of the attacks for 40 days on ABC Radio.

Olbermann was hired by MSNBC in early 2003 as a substitute host on Nachman and as an anchor for MSNBC's coverage of the war in Iraq. His own show, Countdown, debuted shortly thereafter on March 31, 2003 in the 8pm ET timeslot previously held by Phil Donahue's show. On October 13, 2004, Olbermann launched Bloggermann, his Countdown weblog, hosted on Olbermann leverages the open format of the blog to expound on facts or ideas alluded to in the broadcast, to offer personal musings and reactions, and to break news at odd hours. As such, he has distinguished himself by making inroads into the blogosphere and bridging the gap between the "mainstream media" and the "new media".

In June of 2005, it was announced that Olbermann was returning part-time to his former employer, hosting a weekly ESPN Radio show beginning later that summer.

According to Dash Riprock of, Olbermann "tells the truth, and he does it in a sharp, subtlety stated, but unmistakable style. It's sad to realize that it is truly such an oddity these days to see someone with those qualities on TV." [1] (


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Keith Olbermann

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