Known for his encyclopedic knowledge of sports and able hosting of SportsCenter alongside Dan Patrick, Olbermann found his voice with the network from 1992 to 1997, becoming one of the founding influences of ESPN Radio. In the years since leaving ESPN Olbermann made a name with MSNBC and later Current TV, but now, according to The New York Times, he wants back in Bristol.
Olbermann was reportedly in Los Angeles on Friday to make a court appearance in his lawsuit against Current TV, filed in the wake of his firing from the network last May. However, the Times is reporting that Olbermann’s people have been making overtures to ESPN, which culminated with the 54-year-old television personality dining with ESPN president John Skipper.
“Keith Olbermann, both personally and through a couple people I know, reached out to say, ‘Gee, I would love to have dinner,’” Skipper said. “I agreed to dinner with Keith because I assumed he’d be provocative and witty and fun to have dinner with, and he was indeed lots of fun. We talked sports and politics, and we had a nice chat. He is very interesting.
“Clearly he was looking to see if there was an entry point to come back.”
However, don’t turn on one of the ESPN channels tomorrow expecting to see Olbermann — or any time soon, really. Despite his importance in the history of the network, he was also known as somewhat difficult to deal with, and, according to the report, “managed to alienate” a large sect of the company.
For his part, Skipper seemed to cite the self-importance of ESPN as an institution in declining to offer Olbermann a position.
“We don’t have a policy that says we won’t bring somebody back,” said Skipper. “We’re running a great business, and when we think we can get quality content, there’s no such thing as a condemned list. That said, this is not an easy place to get back into. There are not that many successful examples of people who have come back, in part because it’s like water filling a vacuum. When somebody leaves, somebody else fills their place.”
Photo via Facebook/Keith Olbermann
This is Brian Cashman just after leg surgery to fix his delocation. If only Alex Rodriguez healed so well.
“You see things evolving and things changing but I think it’ll be hard to ever fully replace a pocket passer.”
–Matt Schaub, who, we might point out, is purely a pocket passer
Andrew Bailey (@AndrewBailey40) March 04, 2013
This is what happens when Hunter Pence gets bored. Note to Bruce Bochy: Please don’t give Pence days off.