Keith Olbermann on ABC's "This Week"

Sunday, April 22, 2012
(NOTE: This is only meant to be a short posting and is not a full-fledged follow-up to my previous entry about Current TV that will come at a later date.)

Keith Olbermann, center, joined (from left to right) George Will, Peggy Noonan, Donna Brazile, and Matt Dowd on the roundtable for today's "This Week" program (graphic courtesy of ABC News)

Earlier this week, I read that Keith Olbermann, recently of Current TV, was going to appear on ABC's "This Week" Sunday morning political news and analysis program as a panelist for their roundtable discussion today.  Other than an appearance on CBS's Late Night with David Letterman the Tuesday after his firing (and a sighting in New York City's Central Park this past week), Keith has tried to stay out of the public spotlight and this would be his 'reemergence' in journalistic/opinion circles.  I normally tune in for "Face the Nation" at that time but I did switch over to ABC to see how he would do in this setting.

Keith Olbermann, right, talks with ABC News "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos, left, on this morning's program.  Democratic political analyst Donna Brazile is to Olbermann's right (graphic courtesy of ABC News)

The roundtable segments followed Stephanopoulos' introductory session with Maine senator Susan Collins and New York representative Carolyn Maloney on the unfolding Secret Service scandal.  Joined by the show's regular panelists George Will, Peggy Noonan, Matt Dowd and Donna Brazile, Olbermann joined in to talk about that subject as well as problems at the General Services Administration, the competing--and unflattering--Romney and Obama 'Dog-Gate' stories, and the Republicans' search for a vice-presidential candidate.  He and Will--both having interests in the world of sports--ended the panel with their early predictions about the 2012 Major League Baseball season.  The show came to a close and it appeared that Olbermann got through it unscathed (although some Yankee or Red Sox fans will have some heartburn about picking the Tampa Bay Rays over their teams).

Keith Olbermann, right, talks with columnist George Will, left, and ABC News "This Week" host George Stephanopoulos, center, about the national pasttime on this morning's program (graphic courtesy of ABC News)

In an on-screen graphic advertising next week's show, there wasn't a mention of a repeat engagement for Keith (and, ironically, one of the guest panelists is Jennifer Granholm, host of Current TV's "The War Room with Jennifer Granholm" and one of his former coworkers).  I'm assuming that this was a 'trial' audition for Olbermann and ABC wanted to bring him (and his fans) to the show to bolster their ratings ("This Week" usually ranks behind "Face the Nation" and NBC's "Meet the Press" but ahead of "Fox News Sunday") in a manner like they recently employed with Katie Couric to break the 852-week (16-year, 16-week) ratings streak that NBC's "Today" held over ABC's "Good Morning America" since December 11, 1995.  Gimmick or not, it got me to abandon Bob Scheiffer for at least one week. 

An on-screen graphic for next week's "This Week" program which shows Current TV's Jennifer Granholm (bottom left) as a panelist (graphic courtesy of ABC News)

Although he was in a 'foreign' setting (part of a civil 6-person discussion group instead of monologuing 'special comments') and behaving rather sedately (no bombast noticed and no invectives hurled), it was nice to see Keith back on the air.  I'll have to keep up with his Twitter feed to see when he will make another appearance on that show or others who would want to bring him on for at least one show.  Based on his broadcasting history, it's a sure bet that neither Fox News nor NBC/MSNBC will be beating a path to his door.  CNN does have an 8PM slot that could be freed up for Olbermann and it would be a direct shot over Current TV's 'bow' to have him facing off against his replacement (Eliot Spitzer) who, coincidentally, had that same slot on that network against Keith from October 2010 until July 2011.  Such a move might also put fear into Ed Schultz, the radio/television host who eventually inherited Olbermann's time slot at MSNBC.  I'm guessing that the only person who doesn't really care is Fox News' Bill O'Reilly because the only thing that truly worries the reigning cable news rating 'king' is that his audience--a 2010 survey showed that Fox News had the oldest average age of any cable or broadcast network--is slowly dying off.

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