Keith Olbermann Returns To Primetime On Current TV
British satirist Charlie Brooker once equated Keith Olbermann’s relentless on-air lambasting of the Bush Administration to watching “a warm hearted but angry suburban dad shouting over his fence at the bloke next door – who just happens to be the President.” Indeed, it was the quite absurd sense of conviction and sheer pomposity with which Olbermann recited his gospel that made him such compelling viewing. Perhaps a bit too in love with the sound of his own voice – notably during his ever-more-frequent “Special Comment” section – Olbermann built his brand on the twin foundations of analytical storytelling and barbed wit that placed him a cut above the ideological blowhards that plague both ends of the political punditry spectrum.
Then, last November MSNBC President Phil Griffin suspended Olbermann without pay following reports that Olbermann had breached network policy in contributing monies estimated at $2400 to the campaigns of three Democratic Congressional candidates in the upcoming Midterm elections. Despite returning to the air a mere five days later it was the beginning of the end for a relationship between the anchor and his bosses that had, by all accounts, been strained for sometime. On January 21, 2011 Olbermann announced on-air his departure from MSNBC, with the network issuing a statement of its own confirming the split but offering no further comment.
Now, Olbermann is back on the air on the somewhat unfashionably scruffy Current TV, a joint venture by Joel Hyatt and former Vice President Al Gore. So confident that Olbermann could lure his loyal and substantial fanbase (a petition for his reinstatement at MSNBC following the suspension exceeded 250,000 signatures) to their network during primetime that the deal reportedly included a substantial stake in the company to go with his shiny new title of Chief News Officer.
Despite the familiar format – Olbermann retained both ownership rights to "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" and his trademark "Worst Persons in the World" segment – there is something different about Keith post MSNBC. He seems looser, freer. Dountless secure in the knowledge that it will take a lot more than a few misguided campaign contributions to silence him this time around. Given his notorious hatred of fatheads, blockheads and airheads, we can only rub our hands together with glee in anticipation of the upcoming 2012 Presidential campaign, already getting into full swing.