Keith Olbermann remembers a story of talking to his father about sports and civil rights that is quite moving. I get it that Keith is a big personality and a bit of a diva at times in his career. Even I don’t actually watch him regularly most of the time (some of the time though). But he’s got a talent for talking to the camera. Not necessarily a talent for getting along with management or owners but…
I lived in Southern California when Keith got what had to have been his first really big job doing Sports for the news broadcast on one of the independent stations there (KTLA). There are some videos of his newscasts from then on YouTube. I wish there was one of him talking about the World Cup — something he explained with paper dolls to hilarious effect.
He was kind of a waste doing politics and news in the 90s but essential at times doing Countdown in the 00s. He wasn’t for everyone but that was a big part of the point; he told you what he thought and presented stories he thought needed attention. (He also promoted giving Rachel Maddow her own show — Olbermann recognized her talent quickly) I haven’t made a regular habit of watching his new ESPN show but that’s more to do with the fact that I don’t watch much regularly on teevee at all anymore (easier to see it online like this because someone recommended it).
The brief stop at Current TV was understandable if weird in retrospect. MSNBC is not nearly as liberal as others paint it out to be (it is the home of Morning Joe with a fairly conservative host) and I suppose the prospect of a network freed of compromises inherent in working for a huge corporation like NBC was appealing to a contrarian like Olbermann. This interview with Letterman was great and a really funny recap of this brief misadventure.