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Keith Olbermann Made Suzy Kolber Cry, And Other Reasons He Probably Won’t End Up Back At ESPN


Keith Olbermann abruptly ended his run on MSNBC last night, and in addition to piecing together exactly what happened that led to his departure, much of the Olbermann-related speculation has been about his next destination. One place he probably won’t end up: his former home, ESPN.

Although it was was brought up (and hoped for) by various media outlets, the possibility of Olbermann returning to the Worldwide Leader in Sports is nonexistent, according to a Jim Miller tweet from earlier today. Miller, who’s writing a book on ESPN tweeted that insiders at the network said Olbermann “will not be returning.”

Olbermann probably doesn’t want that, anyway. The various disagreements with management, the feuds with ESPN personalities, and the public burning of bridges have all been well-documented. But in case you’re unaware, I’ve compiled a quick refresher on the complicated history between Keith Olbermann and ESPN. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

Olbermann was an anchor on the network from 1992-97, and along with Dan Patrick, helped usher in the era of the quippy, fast-talking “Sportscenter” highlight man. But, much like what (apparently) happened at MSNBC, Olbermann had some problems with the management at Bristol.

He was suspended from the network for two weeks in 1997 after making an unauthorized appearance on the “Daily Show,” which was then hosted by former ESPN colleague Craig Kilborn. On the show, he referred to Bristol as a “godforsaken place” (Keith never seemed to be too enamored with ESPN’s campus: “From the window of my house,” Olbermann told Newsweek, “I could look out on the whole Farmington Valley. And there on the horizon was Interstate 84, with all the taillights blending into one.”)

In 1998, during a commencement address at his alma mater Cornell, Olbermann said the ESPN job gave him “dry heaves,” and it would “make [him] ashamed, make [him] depressed, make [him] cry.” During that summer, ESPN execs complained about Olbermann’s plan to use the “The Big Show” title (a nickname Olbermann and Patrick gave to “Sportscenter”) on his new MSNBC show.

Then there was Michael Freeman’s 2000 book ESPN: The Uncensored History, which outlined a number of “gratuitous shots” of Olbermann’s stint with the network which made him “queasy.” In addition to saying none of ESPN’s executives (except for one) were “any good,” Olbermann was shocked to learn that he had made fellow anchor Suzy Kolber cry.

I now read with horror of my ESPN2 co-host, Ms. Kolber, sequestering herself in the women’s bathroom and weeping over how I treated her. She told Freeman that as things deteriorated, I wouldn’t talk to her. She’s wrong: I couldn’t talk to her. I pumped up some small-scale complaints into a scenario in which she was at fault for everything ESPN2 hadn’t become. I wasn’t completely obtuse back then, and if anything would have cut through my neuroses, it would’ve been a colleague’s tears. If I had known, I think I could’ve jumped over the fence I’d built around myself and said what the inner guy always knew: No TV show is worth crying over. Suzy: I’m sorry.

Olbermann’s troubled relationship with ESPN didn’t keep him from having a short reunion with Patrick. From 2005-2007, he co-hosted an hour-long segment on “The Dan Patrick Show” on ESPN radio. But although he was appearing on the Worldwide Leader’s airwaves, he told David Letterman in 2007 that he had been banned from ESPN’s main campus.

Then, there was the Bill Simmons fight. Olbermann took some shots at ESPN’s most popular writer after Simmons wrote that the comeback of Tiger Woods (from a sex scandal) would be more difficult than the one Muhammad Ali faced in the 1960’s (after years of exile).

“I am again left to marvel how somebody can rise to a fairly prominent media position with no discernible insight or talent,” Olbermann said. “Save for an apparent ability to mix up a vast bowl of word salad very quickly.”

An Olbermann return to ESPN, particularly after he had such harsh (and recent) words for one of the company’s biggest stars, just doesn’t seem likely. But, again, Olbermann probably doesn’t even want to come back. During his interview with Letterman in 2007, he said: “If you burn a bridge, you can possibly build a new bridge, but if there’s no river any more, that’s a lot of trouble.”


  • vesaversa

    Tha’s our boe .

  • Pache Palermo

    Keith Obermann? He is an angry idiot obsessed with the right. He still was doing his countdown and blaming Bush for everything.

    Hope he “gets a life”. He definitely needs help.

  • Anonymous

    If someone seems for twenty years to be at the center of one sh*tstorm or another, you have to start to wonder.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1138629959 Larry Downes

    At some point you have to ask, “Is it everyone else or is it me?”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6ZVZIKKU6O2MKTKF7RHYC3OEVM Joe Astroturf

    Olbermann really learned from Cornell, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences how to shovel the bull that’s for sure Ann Coulter went to the real Cornell University. If he’s smart when he lands a gig he’ll play my song but I wouldn’t count on it someone who went to a good faming school should know that Obamacare will bankrupt the country.

    Please Check out song called teapartiers I can’t hear you at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJfboOindCo

    Here’s a verse

    Doctors are retiring earlier but we’re getting 17000 new IRS
    This is how Obama creates health care jobs I guess
    For 234 years this country’s been God’s blessing.
    Now he’s following Cloward and Piven’s to bankrupt the country I’m guessing
    If Obamacare gives Grandma and Grandpa a scare
    Think how when their rationed and die earlier we’ll save on healthcare

    Hey guys if you fought at Iwo or the Chosen
    when they stop giving your wife her meds and her last breath comes over her face
    you’ll find comfort knowing Nancy’d gladly take her place.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6ZVZIKKU6O2MKTKF7RHYC3OEVM Joe Astroturf

    Olbermann really learned from Cornell, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences how to shovel the bull that’s for sure Ann Coulter went to the real Cornell University. If he’s smart when he lands a gig he’ll play my song but I wouldn’t count on it someone who went to a good faming school should know that Obamacare will bankrupt the country.

    Please Check out song called teapartiers I can’t hear you at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cJfboOindCo

    Here’s a verse

    Doctors are retiring earlier but we’re getting 17000 new IRS
    This is how Obama creates health care jobs I guess
    For 234 years this country’s been God’s blessing.
    Now he’s following Cloward and Piven’s to bankrupt the country I’m guessing
    If Obamacare gives Grandma and Grandpa a scare
    Think how when their rationed and die earlier we’ll save on healthcare

    Hey guys if you fought at Iwo or the Chosen
    when they stop giving your wife her meds and her last breath comes over her face
    you’ll find comfort knowing Nancy’d gladly take her place.

  • Michael

    I can’t tell if Olbermann is a huge cloud of flatulence with an ego, or a huge ego spewing flatulence. Used to be, in order to find anyone this taken with himself, you had to look in Hollywood. He’s a world-class jackass. He needs his own special barn. Somewhere. Preferably in central Asia, (although those folks haven’t done anything to me), but at least they probably wouldn’t be able to understand his ego-laden rants.

  • Lucia M. Dunor

    Olbermann is a genius that you envy. He is very analytical, precise, very articulate, and the sky is the limit of his vast knowledge on issues. Pray to possess a little of what he knows. It will help you!!
    Lucia

  • Varnie J. Dunor, Sr.

    Keith Olbermann is one of the best America has. You better learn to love him so that you can learn a bit of what he knows. Good luck for your quest.
    Varnie

  • Michael

    From a column by Larry Elder, today, January 27, 2011, at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/elder012711.php3

    “Calling opposition to ObamaCare the equivalent of “terrorists … killing 45,000 people every year”; blaming Rush Limbaugh for the Oklahoma City bombing; calling the tea party-backed Republicans racists who would bring back “Jim Crow … bread lines … robber barons” and “hanging union organizers”; calling now-Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., a “homophobic, racist, reactionary … teabagging supporter of violence against women”; accusing columnist and Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin of engaging in “morally bankrupt, knee-jerk, fascistic hatred without which (she) would just be a big mashed-up bag of meat with lipstick on it”; accusing President George W. Bush of “urinating on the Constitution” and of committing “panoramic and murderous deceit”; exclaiming about Bush, “You’re a fascist!”; asserting that Bush “lied us into a war and, in so doing, needlessly killed 3,584″; calling Fox News’ Chris Wallace “a monkey posing as a newscaster”; and saying of the then-Whitewater prosecutor, “It finally dawned on me that the person Ken Starr has reminded me of facially all this time was Heinrich Himmler … a persecutor as opposed to a prosecutor.”

    I’m certain you loathe Mr. Elder’s views and you’ll probably write him off as some sort of “Uncle Tom” figure, but everything he listed here were statements made by Mr. Olbermann. If these words of those of a precise, analytical, very articulate, person possessing vast knowledge, then the future of the Republic is in dangerous territory. But please feel free to continue your Olbermann worship and pray to him for your salvation.

  • http://gothicromance.net/ Fransway

    Enough. I love Keith Olbermann. He’s my TV daddy!

  • Jim

    Do you think that if we “learn a bit of what he knows” that we can lose our jobs too. Or possibly have a history being a prick at work like Keith has so many times? (Referenced in the story above)

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7QKC2YGX2EILUKUH3UTEL3M2BU milieu

    Uncle Tom? You Praise him with Faint Damnation——-this clown is an Oreo with a sense of admiring Benedict Arnold. Like Armstrong Williams and Michelle Steal (sp? lol) and every other minority who moved over to the Axis of Evil, he’s nothing more than a well paid shill to protect the Openly insidious nature of the Republic Party’s “Southern Strategery” which is co-opted from George Wallace and the Klan and got Tricky Dick and Raygun elected.

    Check out John Kasich’s blantant racism as well. “I don’t need your people.”

  • Dsteak

    Is he wrong? I don’t think so. Nothing wrong with speaking your mind, which everyone on this forum does every day.

  • Juan Grande

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