Entertainment ESPN Demands Olbermann Quit Doing 'Commentary'...

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by HS Cult Leader, Jul 2, 2015.

  1. HS Cult Leader

    HS Cult Leader Elite Member Gold

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    ESPN Wants Keith Olbermann to Quit Doing "Commentary"


    by Marisa Guthrie
    7/1/2015 11:11am PDT


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    Keith Olbermann




    The ESPN2 anchor was highly critical of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell during the Ray Rice scandal.

    ESPN and Keith Olbermann may be headed toward a tough negotiation to keep the outspoken host on the sports network. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that ESPN has floated a highly problematic condition for an extension of Olbermann's initial two-year deal: that he cease engaging in “commentary” on his ESPN2 program.

    The issue likely stems from Olbermann's critical assessment of the NFL's handling of the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal that exploded last summer when an elevator video of Rice punching then-fiancee Janay Palmer in the face surfaced after the NFL had imposed a slap-on-the-wrist, two-game suspension on the Baltimore Ravens star running back. Olbermann repeatedly hammered NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. In a lengthy commentary at the top of his Aug. 1 broadcast, he called on the commissioner to “resign” after what Olbermann described as a “weak, damaging and almost enabling reaction” to the episode.

    The NFL has been pilloried throughout the media — and also faced pressure from advertisers — for its handling of a string of violent incidents involving its players. ESPN's highly regarded investigative series Outside the Lines was a leader in reporting on the scandal.

    Olbermann is not the only ESPN personality who has been critical of Goodell and the league. Bill Simmons' profane criticism of Goodell was likely the tipping point for his departure from the network after 15 years, during which Simmons built the online site Grantland and also co-created the award-winning documentary series 30 for 30.

    ESPN walks a particularly fine line in how its reporters and personalities handle the professional sports leagues that are so critical to the network's success. ESPN's Monday Night Football deal (which extends through 2021) is worth $15.2 billion to the NFL. It is the richest rights deal among the NFL's TV partners — which also includes CBS, Fox and NBC — in part because it comes with extensive highlight rights critical to feeding content to ESPN's myriad sports programs. ESPN has had MNF since 2006, with the current deal representing an increase of more than 70 percent — $1.9 billion per year up from $1.1 billion — over the previous agreement. And while NFL schedulers have historically worked to spread marquee matchups among its TV partners, the upcoming MNF schedule is viewed as one pointedly lacking in high-interest games, with multiple sources inside ESPN's Bristol, Conn., headquarters believing the "terrible" schedule is “pay back for Simmons and Olbermann,” as one source put it.

    And there are signs that ESPN's spending may need to be reined in. Though ESPN parent Disney realized gains in second-quarter earnings, operating income at Disney media networks — which includes ABC, ESPN and the company's kid-targeted cable channels — fell 2 percent due to rising programming and production costs at ESPN.

    Read More Cable News Ratings Continue to Climb in 2015 — Except at MSNBC
    Olbermann's return to ESPN two years ago was something of a surprising homecoming given his clashes with management during his first stint at the network. A talented writer and anchor, he built his reputation on ESPN's SportsCenter with co-host Dan Patrick in the 1980s. Together they brought a wry humor to the heretofore by-the-numbers highlight show, launching countless imitators of what would eventually become the norm across the industry. By all accounts Olbermann has had few run-ins with management during his current stint there, though he was suspended for four days earlier this year after popping off at Penn State students on Twitter. He took full blame for the incident when he returned, admitting that he had been “stupid and immature.”

    And Olbermann's on-air commentaries — unlike his tweets — are vetted by ESPN producers who have been known to request changes, say sources. There was some frustration with his initial 11 p.m. time slot on ESPN2. Because it was preceded by live sports, his show was frequently shifted to the wee hours. At one point, Olbermann was pre-empted for several nights by women's softball. But last September, ESPN permanently shifted Olbermann to 5 p.m.

    Sources say that ESPN management signaled their discomfort with Olbermann's commentaries a few days after news of Simmons' imminent departure from ESPN broke last May, when ESPN president John Skipper abruptly told The New York Times that he had decided not to renew Simmons' deal. (Simmons learned of Skipper's decision when the Times tweeted its scoop on May 8.)

    Olbermann's current deal is up in August. Skipper has said in the past that he intends to keep Olbermann. But he also said the same about Simmons. Of course, while Olbermann has many fans in the sports arena, he also is an established progressive voice — and reliable conservative foe. It is still possible that he'll stay at ESPN. But with a presidential election around the corner, he may be itching to get back to political commentary.

    In a statement in response to this story, ESPN said: "Keith Olbermann has never been told any topic is off limits for his commentary nor has continuation of it been part of any conversation about his future at the company."
     
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  2. Alisonsbankacct

    Alisonsbankacct Out to lunch.

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    Is Costas ever on ESPN, or just on NBC?

    Also, Keith just needs to get a blog already and pour his heart out there.
     
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  3. peterfonda

    peterfonda Well-Known Member

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    Nobody would read it and he knows it. He uses his TV gigs as his soapbox.
     
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  4. scoobyla

    scoobyla Well-Known Member

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    they hired him to do commentary,
    any fool can read the scores
     
  5. FSFN

    FSFN Well-Known Member

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    Espn is around at my house.
     
  6. Mr Vengeance

    Mr Vengeance Ladies love cool V. VIP

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    Why have him if you don't want him to do commentary? What? For his scary-exciting interviews???
     
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  7. MyLazyHand

    MyLazyHand Russia and France Know What to Do

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    I wish that they would tie him to Bob Costas and throw them both in a river. Smug assholes.
     
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  8. Alisonsbankacct

    Alisonsbankacct Out to lunch.

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    I miss when he looked like Eugene Levy

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. Frank

    Frank Well-Known Member

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    I miss Playmakers
     
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  10. vaporizer

    vaporizer Well-Known Member

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    Fuck ESPN. They have sucked for just about 20 years when they wanted to make all their Jon Hein-level taint-licker anchors "superstars".

    I don't need those dolts to have personalities. Just give me the fucking information about what baseball teams won their games and who they beat.

    And for the record...don't you guys think it's mad creepy to work in an industry where all you do is suck off 20 year old kids, living vicariously through their sports "achievements"? It's just strange to me and it didn't really hit me that way until I turned 30. Like, we used to look up to these athletes when we were children and that's okay I guess, but what happens when you become an adult? Should you still do it? Should you still parade around your city with team gear? It's just fucking weird to me now. Maybe I'm going nuts in my 36th year, but I'd like to know what you all think on this matter.
     
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  11. johnfreeman1

    johnfreeman1 Well-Known Member

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    Bill Simmons podcasts were so good
     
  12. vaporizer

    vaporizer Well-Known Member

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    I remember this look. Before Keith departed for ESPN he was the local sports guy on CBS 2 in Los Angeles in the late 80s/early 90s. My mom thought he was a douche so I obviously thought he was okay. That's how it goes down when you're 12, right?
     
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  13. Senator Rick

    Senator Rick Well-Known Member

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    Had the same issues regarding rock & roll writing when I hit 35.
     
  14. HS Cult Leader

    HS Cult Leader Elite Member Gold

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    Even before that, he first broke in with KTLA 5, they eventually fired him and then he bounced around L.A. stations before ESPN and Fox Sports canned him too.


     
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  15. Gusbuss

    Gusbuss VIP Extreme Gold

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    Loved the " worst person in the world" on MSNBC. I would just tune in for the last 5 minutes.
     
  16. fletchman71

    fletchman71 Well-Known Member

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    Remember when ESPN was about sports and not politics and social issues? Fuck both of them.
     
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  17. Nemo

    Nemo Beer Can Thick Gold

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    yup
     
  18. Head Censor

    Head Censor Turgid Member VIP

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    The grand irony being that all he ever needed to do for that segment was pull out a giant mirror.
     
  19. vaporizer

    vaporizer Well-Known Member

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    Had no idea. I moved to So. Cal in 1989 so it was all news to me when he was on, but I thought he was decent. Certainly far better than his replacement (not sure if he took over right after Olberman or if there was a window with someone else in there) Jim Hill.
     
  20. HS Cult Leader

    HS Cult Leader Elite Member Gold

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    Jim Hill was an L.A. sports veteran, he was around long before Olbermann arrived on the scene, Jim also moved around a few stations through the years.

    [​IMG]
     
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