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Keith Olbermann says he won't miss politics in return to ESPN

Posted By CAROLINE LEE, UPI.com   |   Aug. 26, 2013 at 3:41 PM
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At 11 p.m. Monday, Keith Olbermann returns to TV with a new show on ESPN2, the spinoff channel that Olbermann himself helped start in 1993.

It marks a return for Olbermann to ESPN and the world of sports, who has spent the past 10 years reporting politics at MSNBC and Current TV. He first left ESPN 16 years ago.

The nightly show, called "Olbermann," begins with Olbermann at the anchor desk, running through sports events for 10 to 15 minutes. It then moves to "This Week in Keith History" -- archival videos of Olbermann's ESPN past, which he is not shown in advance -- and followed by segments with Olbermann's hand-picked guests.

The transition has been smooth in rehearsals and dry runs, Olbermann said.

"There has been no friction at all,” he said. “No one has said to me, ‘We let you back in, now sit back and shut up.’ Instead ,they’ve said, ‘We’ve let you back in, now tell us everything you want and why.’"

Olbermann has been let go from previous networks for his outspoken dissatisfaction with his employers, including management decisions.

Jamie Horowitz, ESPN's vice president for original programming and production, said Olbermann has been "incredibly responsive" to suggestions, and that he has "been accountable and willing to do things."

"Even if I want to change a word in his script, he's said, 'OK, Jamie, I'll change it,'" Horowitz said.

Olbermann said he doesn't anticipate wishing for a return to his old job, either.

"No, I won’t miss politics,” he said.

“My understanding of my own emotions relative to politics was really clarified in the past year. I was invited on ‘This Week With George Stephanopoulos.’ I did it twice, and they invited me on many more times. We talked about doing it on a regular basis, but I found myself coming up with really bad excuses to not do it, like my dog needs my attention.

"I finally figured out I just didn’t like the subject matter anymore.

"If you cover politics for eight years without interruption like I did, you need a change,” he said. “After all, we retire our presidents after eight years. Why you should make anybody cover our political system beyond that is a mystery to me. It was pretty much burned out of me.”
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