We begin the show with the official news today of the return to ESPN of Keith Olbermann. Olbermann will host a nighttime program at 11:00p.m. ET on ESPN2 beginning August 26th. We discuss how the reunion of Olbermann and ESPN, which seemed impossible just a few months ago, came to fruition. We also delve into how the re-hire of Olbermann is ESPN’s way to divert attention from the launch next month of Fox Sports 1.
Speaking of Fox Sports 1 we look at the report in Sports Business Journal that Fox may be having a difficult time reaching its desired home penetration of 90 million homes when Fox Sports 1 debuts on August 17.
We wrap the segment by critiquing Fox’s promotional video, aired during last night’s MLB All-Star Game, touting the launch of Fox Sports 1; the make-up of the Regis Philbin Fox Sports 1 program, and the flat ratings for last night’s Mid-Summer Classic.
Our second guest this week is Peter Burns of Mile High Radio. Peter joins us to discuss the collaboration announced last week that his morning radio program will be simulcast on the Denver Post website and that he, the paper, and KCDO TV have begun production on a nightly 30-minute local sports program.
Everything old is new again for Keith Olbermann and ESPN.
ESPN President John Skipper announced today that Keith Olbermann will return to ESPN August 26th to host a live, late night talk show on ESPN2.
The program will be titled simply Olbermann, and will, according to ESPN PR, “focus on the day’s relevant sports topics through a mix of perspective and commentary, interviews, contributors, panel discussions and highlights.”
Olbermann spent the early part of his career host programming on “The Duece” before being pared with Dan Patrick on SportsCenter. The careers of both men skyrocketed as a result of their pairing. Recently Olbermann has worked a host on both MSNBC and Current. He also was a host on NBC’s Football Night in America from 2007-2009. He will serve as host of post-season baseball coverage on TBS this fall.
“Keith is a one-of-a-kind personality and these shows will be appointment viewing for that very reason,” Skipper said. “Keith brings a blend of editorial sophistication and unpredictability — you can never be sure what you’ll get. Olbermann on ESPN2 gives viewers the quality late-night complement to ESPN’s SportsCenter in the same way we’ve developed distinct show options across our networks the rest of the day.”
Olbermann noted: “Apart from the opportunity to try to create a nightly hour of sports television that no fan can afford to miss, I’m overwhelmed by the chance to begin anew with ESPN. I’ve been gone for 16 years and not one day in that time has passed without someone connecting me to the network. Our histories are indelibly intertwined and frankly I have long wished that I had the chance to make sure the totality of that story would be a completely positive one. I’m grateful to friends and bosses – old and new – who have permitted that opportunity to come to pass. I’m not going to waste it.”
ESPN will announce more details on the show in the coming weeks.
Our second guest this week is Jason Kint, Senior Vice President and General Manager of CBS Sports Interactive, the digital arm of CBS Sports. Ken spends time with Jason talking about the varied offerings by CBS online as well as the future of digital sports programming.
Turner Sports has announced its talent line-up for its coverage of this fall’s Major League Baseball playoffs.
The big news is the return to baseball for Keith Olbermann, who will serve as host of TBS’ Major League Baseball postseason studio show, joined by analyst Dennis Eckersley.
“It’s well known that Keith is a fan of the game and when you combine that with his studio experience, keen insight and passion for baseball and its history, he’ll add a new dimension to our MLB Postseason studio shows,” said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports. “We’re excited to have him join Dennis in studio, and look forward to Keith sharing his in-depth knowledge of the game, MLB teams and players with our viewers for three great weeks in October.”
When the games begin Ernie Johnson and Brian Anderson will provide play-by-play with analysts Ron Darling, Cal Ripken, Jr. and John Smoltz.
As part of the announcement today Turner announced a new long-term extension with Darling who will continue to be part of the analysts for the network’s Sunday MLB on TBS series.
“We have put together two dynamic teams who, in their own unique voices, will provide fans with informative and entertaining game telecasts,” said Levy. “Ernie and Brian are two of the most accomplished baseball play-by-play announcers in the business today. Ron and John, with their combined 34 years of pitching experience, will continue to provide our viewers with great insights and opinions throughout the postseason. Cal made great contributions in the booth last season during the Division Series and we look forward to his expanded presence this year.”
Today marks the half-year anniversary of the Sports Media Weekly Podcast with our 26th edition.
Ken Fang at Fang’s Bites and I look at the announcer line-up for CBS’ coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, changes afoot at ESPN Radio, and the media feud between ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons and former WWL’er and current NBC/MSNBC personality Keith Olbermann.
Our guest this week is Keith McSpurren, President of CoverItLive. CoverItLive is arguably the leader in providing websites with live blogging capability. Keith talks about how he came up with the product and how media companies as small as SMJ and as large as ESPN use it.