KEITH OLBERMANN (1959- ) WILL BE RETURNING TO NETWORK TV NEXT MONDAY NIGHT, JUNE 20, AT 8 PM EASTERN ON CURRENT TV, CHANNEL 358 ON DIRECTV, CHANNEL 196 ON DISH TV, CHANNEL 107 ON COMCAST, CHANNEL 102 ON VERIZON FIOS, AND CHANNEL 103 IN NY AND CHANNEL 142 IN LA ON TIME-WARNER CABLE. HIS SHOW “COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN” WILL BE ON M-F IN THE SAME TIME SLOT HE GARNERED 1 MILLION + VIEWERS PER NIGHT FROM WHILE ON MSNBC FOR THE PAST 8 YEARS.
It was longtime sports announcer and author Olbermann who helped chart then also-ran MSNBC into a clear left-leaning major alternative to the ultra-conservative and very Republican-biased FOX “News” Channel and the wishy-washy CNN. In the process, viewers were successfully stolen from both networks and the once cable news leader CNN was relegated to a poor third among the three networks. He made it possible for Rachel Maddow, Cenk Uyger, Lawrence O’Donnell, and Ed Schultz to each have a preeminent presence for leftists on cable news during prime time, and I expect he will begin the process anew at Current TV. For he has been given broad control of news programming for that network, something I know regular followers of this blog will all rejoice in. Olbermann has pledged to keep his new show closely tailored to the former version, complete with its rapid-fire, investigative political reporting/analyses and even his “Worst Persons” segment intact. For the first time in years, Olbermann will be totally free from the influence of corporate overlords. I, for one, can’t wait for the premiere!
Keith Olbermann was born into a Unitarian Lutheran family of German descent in New York City. He is the elder of two children. His mother, Marie, was a longtime Yankees baseball fan and instilled her love of the game, and all sports, into her young son by taking him to his first of many, many ball games. His father was an architect. Olbermann’s love of sports led him to pursue a career in sports journalism which lasted for twenty years. During this time, he worked with CNN, Fox Sports, and ESPN, devoting himself mainly to baseball and football. His very first book, The Major League Coaches: 1921-1973, was published by Card Memorabilia Associates in 1973, when he was at the tender age of only 14. He didn’t know it at the time, but his long and successful career in mass communication had just begun.He has since written for a number of other baseball publications as well as authoring several of his own books in the political realm. He still maintains close ties with those in the sports world.
After a long time spent in sports journalism, Olbermann shifted gears and became a reporter, analyst, and eventual commentator/anchor for MSNBC in 1998. In 2003, his first Countdown show was launched and slowly emerged as a no-nonsense, fact-based political commentary with a left-leaning emphasis. The excesses of the neoconservative Bush administration (i.e. the illegal war for profit and plunder in Iraq, the passage of the odious and nefarious Patriot Act, torture at Abu Gheraib and at Guantanamo, ridiculous tax cuts heavily favoring the very wealthy, among many, many other things) had given Olbermann the unique opportunity to emerge as a strong, vocal, leftist antidote to the blatantly Bush-supporting Fox commentator Bill O’Reilly and the weak-kneed, fully docile and compliant CNN. He grabbed the chance to forge a viable leftist presence on the tube and grew increasingly critical of the Bush way of mismanaging government. He brought in both Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell to host their own respective shows, and before long, MSNBC was running a solid number 2 in the ratings, continually gaining ground on Fox.
The secret of Olbermann’s success lies not only in his clever positioning, but also in his relevancy. He does not bore his viewers with meaningless diatribes on the wacky behabior of the currently reigning ill-behaved Hollywood figures. Rather, he presents serious discussions, analysis, and informed editorial opinion on topical issues of the day. During the health care debate in 2009, he himself began a campaign to sponsor FREE health care clinics for the needy in selected cities, something no other politician or pundit, especially the rich, stuffy Bill O’Reilly, the bombastic blowhards Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, or the smart-alecky Sean Hanity never even bothered to do, although all are awash in cash.
Some interesting facts on Keith Olbermann you may not be aware of: he does not drive, having suffered loss of depth-perception and equilibrium from an old head injury he received in 1980. He also suffers from a mild case of celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder which damages the small intestine and can lead to severe malnutrition, no matter how much food one consumes. As a result, Keith has been on a gluten-free diet for a number of years and it has kept him healthy. His shoe size is a huge 13 1/2. He has never married and has no children, but was voted Playgirl Magazine’s #1 sexiest male newscaster in 2004. He recently ended a three year cohabitation with former New York newscaster Katy Tur, and, for a time in the 1990s, briefly dated conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham of Fox “News”! We’re glad you left THAT one behind, Keith!
Current TV is very optimistic about having Olbermann aboard. He has planned to help launch a second prime time progressive news show there within the next year. Frazier Moore of the Associated Press has reported that Current TV CEO Mark Rosenthal has said, “I think we’ll become a very important home base for independent, progressive thinking on television…our goal is to get every last one of the viewers who watched Keith before – and then some. And I think we can do it.” When asked if he’ll be able to find another Rachel Maddow, Olbermann wryly replied, “I just might find the SAME Rachel Maddow. You never know.” I will certainly be a regular viewer of Keith’s starting on June 20, and I hope all of YOU will too!!! TELL YOUR FRIENDS!!!