Soon-to-be ESPN2 host Keith Olbermann is the subject of a lengthy profile by THR’s Marisa Guthrie. Olbermann talks about how he came to join ESPN, repairing the bridges he “napalmed” the last time he was there, and also his rather tumultuous end at Current TV.
Guthrie also reveals that ESPN was talking to NBC’s Seth Meyers about hosting a late-night show, until he inked the “Late Night” gig at NBC, and that Olbermann met with ABC News president Ben Sherwood as his time at Current neared a close.
“When you’re working for somebody whom you admired politically, who turns out to be a clod,” says Olbermann, referring to Gore, “the scales fall from your eyes. Sorry. Al underdelivered. I mean that’s just simply the case. I don’t want to dwell on it, but it’s true.”
Olbermann saw Gore at the arbitration meeting in San Francisco on March 12. Asked whether that was awkward, he smiles ruefully: “Two days before, I’m standing at Phoenix Municipal Stadium with my friend Bob Melvin, the manager of the Oakland A’s, talking about pitching depth. Two days after that, I’m in a mediator’s office, hearing myself described as, you know, akin to Stalin. We are in the middle of a legal proceeding involving large sums of money and contracts. Of course it was awkward.”
But the experience with Current, he says, crystallized his desire to remake his image as something other than “this intense, belligerent, political polemicist,” he says. “I left ESPN as a sportscaster mostly known for humor and insight.”