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Host: Keith Olbermann
The place: A-Mess-NBC headquarters. The time: early evening, July 25, 2007. In a small, dusty room, secluded in an odd corner of the building, the production staff of Countdown is about to begin their nightly pre-show meeting.
PRODUCER: He should be here any minute now.
INTERN: Is he always this late?
PRODUCER: It depends. Sometimes it's the bathtub. Sometimes he's late getting out of therapy. And then, there are the meets.
PRODUCER: Meetings. There are several seedy hotels in the area, you know.
INTERN: Do you want me to call him and tell him we're ready?
PRODUCER: I don't think so. Have you written a note and placed it in the box outside his office door?
INTERN: No. That's right. Sorry.
PRODUCER: Oh wait, I think I hear him coming.
OLBERMANN: Soooo, which of these stories will the world be talking about tomorrow? What do you have lined up for me tonight?
PRODUCER: Well, we've got the usual mix of politics and tabloid trivia. We're going to start out with--
OLBERMANN: Who are you? Are you new here?
INTERN: I'm the new intern.
OLBERMANN: What's your name?
OLBERMANN: That's a nice name.
PRODUCER: Um, sir, we're going to start out with the biggest news of the day: Gonzales and the subpoenas.
OLBERMANN: Good choice. It's on the lips of every American. Can I call him a liar?
PRODUCER: Yeah, that's expected by now.
OLBERMANN: Hmm, let's see. Comments from Rockefeller, Conyers, Harman... You don't have anything in here from Republican Congressmen or Senators.
PRODUCER: Oh, I'm sorry sir. I can--
OLBERMANN: No, this is excellent. Just the way I like it. We got Shuster tonight?
PRODUCER: Yes, sir. He'll play it up real big for you. He'll say "it's a clear case of perjury, not even close".
OLBERMANN: Oh yeah, Shuster talks a big game. I'm still waiting for that Karl Rove indictment he promised me. No biggie. The blogs will eat it up. They'll swallow anything. Say Mandy, do you--
PRODUCER: Um, Mr. Olbermann, sir, we've also got a Senator for you to interview.
OLBERMANN: Oh really? You aren't going to throw me some sort of curve, are you?
PRODUCER: Oh no sir. I wouldn't do that. We got Senator Leahy.
OLBERMANN: Oh that's fine. You know, our guest list is like none other in all of cable news.
PRODUCER: That's right, sir.
OLBERMANN: What grade are you in, Mandy?
INTERN: Just graduating college, sir.
PRODUCER: Do you want to see the Leahy questions I've written for you?
OLBERMANN: Oh all right. Let's look them over here...
OLBERMANN: Hmm, a little overboard, don't you think?
PRODUCER: How so?
OLBERMANN: Well, that last question.I don't want to put Leahy on the spot. Asking him for evidence? He's our guy after all.
PRODUCER: You really think that question is too tough?
OLBERMANN: Well, I can always soften it up a bit on air.
PRODUCER: Ad-lib? Are you sure you want to try that again, sir? How about you throw out that one horribly over-the-top question and I'll write you something innocuous, maybe taking a shot at Dick Cheney?
OLBERMANN: That's more like it. Say Mandy, what do you like to do for fun?
PRODUCER: Getting back to the show, we have a bang-up second segment, all about impeachment. I've got another gem of an interview too.
OLBERMANN: Not Turley again?
PRODUCER: No, I actually got a conservative for impeachment. He's--
OLBERMANN: Let me guess. Bruce Fein.
PRODUCER: How did you know?
OLBERMANN: C'mon. What other conservative legal scholar agrees with him? Can you name one?
PRODUCER: Well, no.
OLBERMANN: Excellent. I like the intro here. "Mister" Bush, Nixon references, White House in Crisis. Good stuff.
PRODUCER: Take a look at the questions for Fein. See if they're OK.
OLBERMANN: All right, let's see... Do you think this President should be impeached?... What is the soundest legal case for impeachment? Good stuff. And definitely not overboard.
PRODUCER: Thank you, sir.
OLBERMANN: By the way, that "Ho" business you pulled when I was off? Classic!
PRODUCER: But they made you apologize.
OLBERMANN: The apology worked out great. Got me all sorts of buzz. As long as they don't expect me to start apologizing for anything I say.
PRODUCER: Oh no, sir. I'm sure nobody expects that.
OLBERMANN: What school do you go to Mandy?
INTERN: Warren G Harding University.
OLBERMANN: Where exactly is that school?
PRODUCER: Mr Olbermann? Did you see all the jabs at Fox we got in there? There's one in the spiel, one in the top newsmakers--
OLBERMANN: How does the script read?
OLBERMANN: The part about Fox, what does it say?
PRODUCER: It says "Fox Noise"--
OLBERMANN: Bwahaahaaahaaa! Har, har, Haaaaaaaaa! Man, that's just hilarious stuff. Bwahaahaahaaaaa!! Fox Noise! Hahahaaaaaaa!
INTERN: I don't get it.
PRODUCER: We've got another story about mistreatment of injured vets, plus Britney and Lindsay.
OLBERMANN: No Tom Cruise? Why can't we talk about Tom Cruise?
PRODUCER: You just talked about him on Monday, sir.
OLBERMANN: So what?
INTERN: I like Tom Cruise.
OLBERMANN: What about worst person? What did you dig up there?
PRODUCER: It's pretty much like we do every night. I got a gem from Daily Kos and because we're balanced, I also took one from Media Matters.
OLBERMANN: Does it have O'Reilly? Do We Have An O'Reilly Attack Tonight? Answer me!
PRODUCER: Of course it does.
OLBERMANN: Lemme see it. Looks good and... Oh man! Bwaahaaaahaaaaa! That's too much. "Billo". Haahaaaaahaaaa! Oh, and--I can't keep a straight face--"Orally"! "Orally!!" Bwahaaaaahaaaa! Man, that's comedy gold.
PRODUCER: So you approve of tonight's script?
OLBERMANN: I guess so, but with only one O'Reilly attack it still sounds a little tepid. Why didn't you spice it up? You should've written up another Special Komment for me. Those always go over with a bang.
PRODUCER: Haven't you been going to that well a little too often, sir?
OLBERMANN: Are you kidding? The blogs love 'em! Maybe I can start alternating Special Komments with Special Apologies. What do you think, Mandy?
INTERN: I really wouldn't know, sir.
OLBERMANN: Have you ever tasted Merlot?
PRODUCER: Um, it's just about air time sir. Don't you think you should get to the studio?
OLBERMANN: Yeah, all right. Don't go away, Mandy. You know I keep tapes of every broadcast I do. I have them all entered into a chronological list, and later tonight I'd really like to show you my Countdown log.
Olbermann's book The book that bears Olbermann's name plumetted to #31,025 at amazon.com, while "Culture Warrior" is #1,714. (It's that 2-for-$25 sale!) The OlbyTome remains mired below the ranking radar at Barnes & Noble; O'Reilly's book is #1,314 there, and is one of the top five books of 2006 per Publishers Weekly. On Tuesday, the infamous, deplorable Keith Olbermann continued his "lock on second place" by finishing a weak third in the coveted, all-important, much-beloved, critical "key demo". Tonight's MisterMeter reading: 5 [ELEVATED]