OlbermannWatch.com "My Faves" Set
OlbermannWatch.com Favorited Photos from other Flickr Users
Got OlbyPhotos? See some on Flickr? DO NOT email us. Send us a FlickrMail instead. Include a link to the photo. If we like the photo you will see it displayed in the Olby Flickr Flood above.
New to Flickr? Sign up for a FREE Flickr account!
New to YouTube? Sign up for a FREE YouTube account!
|Subscribe to Olbermann Watch Mailing List|
|Visit this group|
It's been all of 24 hours since the last glowing, fawning, butt-kissing ratings-fiction filled mainstream media article on Keith Olbermann. Enter the San Franciso Gate to fill the void. Boy that publicist for KO sure knows how to get the glowing ink for their number one client don't they?
And Tim Goodman is ready, willing and able to oblige. Why it almost sounds as if he was wearing knee-pads for this latest mash note to the mainstream media crush, Keith Olbermann.
You could say this has been a big week for MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann, but lately they've all been big weeks. It would be difficult to find an anchor or TV personality who has been on a bigger roll.
Certainly not Katie Couric, to name but one.
In fact, in the last year, Olbermann has emerged as a kind of force of nature on television. His viewing audience has continued to rise -- his show is up about 76 percent in the first quarter of this year as compared with last. His profile, however, is off the charts. Olbermann has been on a late-night talk-show binge; he is credited with almost single-handedly making MSNBC relevant (no small feat); and he has re-upped his MSNBC show, "Countdown," for another four years, through 2011. The deal calls for Olbermann to write periodic essays for NBC's "Nightly News With Brian Williams" and have two "Countdown" specials air on NBC.
It was important for NBC News President Steve Capus to lock Olbermann into a sweet deal not only because Olbermann has a history of getting up and walking out the door (ESPN, CNN, Fox Sports and a previous stint at MSNBC), but also because it doesn't take a genius to figure out that the multitalented Olbermann can be used in ways previously unseen with other anchors.
For example, as I noted in November of 2005, "Countdown" would be (or should be) the model for the future of news. The difficulty in making that a reality anytime soon is that people who make these decisions are rooted in old-school notions of what a network newscast should look like, and so when they try to do something revolutionary to it they end up with -- Katie Couric?
No, Olbermann's mix of smarts and snark would soon make "Countdown" one of the few absolutely essential news shows on television. In 2003, when Olbermann agreed to fill in a mere three times on MSNBC's long forgotten "Nachman" show, somebody finally paid attention to the man's myriad talents. Not long after, "Countdown" was born, and it took a turn as a Roman candle once Olbermann started poking fun at the meritless ego and thin skin of Fox showman Bill O'Reilly. Olbermann's star status exploded when he then started eviscerating the dumbassification of this country through the politics of President Bush. Those "Special Comment" riffs caught the attention of what must always be lazily described as "the left wing," and off Olbermann shot as a voice of reason for the left when, prior to that, everyone was sitting mute or meekly inarticulate.
So here television found a polymath who could deliver a news story with authority, skewer idiotic behavior with savage humor (his "Worst Person in the World" segment), be unafraid to have an actual opinion and back it up, and then hit the talk-show circuit and be a witty bon vivant.
In short, a new (but not so new) TV star was born.
My description of him in 2005 still stands: "Part Jon Stewart (the funny), Dennis Miller (the erudite and biting sub-references), H.L. Mencken (the skewering of power and stupidity in equal doses) as well as crusading journalist, Olbermann is clearly the future."
Now, that notion of him having a big week? It's true. Not only has he stood out in his coverage and comments of the Virginia Tech shooting tragedy, but he was also named on Monday as one of "The Top 10 Most Powerful People in TV News 2007" by the industry magazine TV Week. He was ranked No. 6 (Fox News head Roger Ailes was first, followed by Olbermann's boss, Capus, ABC anchor Charles Gibson, ABC News head David Westin and NBC's Tim Russert. He was followed by CBS News head Sean McManus, a cabal of CNN executives and Jon Stewart).
Also on Monday, NBC Sports announced that it was tapping into Olbermann's skills by making him an in-studio host for its powerful "Football Night in America" Sunday show in the fall, where he joins fellow brainiac, Bob Costas.
So, yes, a big week.
For me, it was a reminder not to take Olbermann for granted. Hell, I once called the guy "a misunderstood visionary" -- I hold to that, though it appears he's becoming more understood, no? -- and I have, over the course of more than a decade, written about him extensively.
In fact, I went back to 1997 and found that, as one of my favorite people in all of television, a kind of godsend to critics, I couldn't find a negative word I'd written on him.
That's a decade's worth of good ink. Again -- no small feat. I used to joke with Chris Albrecht, who runs HBO, that I was glad when he made a show I didn't like because I was getting tired of praising him and the channel. It was ruining my reputation as a somewhat tough -- all right, cranky and mean -- TV critic. But Olbermann may have, at this point, the longest-running unscathed Goodman streak this side of Salma Hayek.
From "SportsCenter" to "Countdown," the guy has passed my critical muster for a long, long time. I was thinking about what I could say that's less than positive. And I finally found it. So here it is, in full disclosure: Olbermann is in the same fantasy baseball league that I'm in. And I'm beginning to loathe him for it. Why? Because this week -- yes, this very week -- he slid into first place.