SBD/Issue 141/Sports Media

People & Personalities: Ebersol Expects K.O. To Make Waves

NBC’s Olbermann Adds “Football
Night In America” Co-Hosting Duties

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann, who is joining NBC’s “Football Night in America” as a co-host, will continue to host his daily MSNBC show, “Countdown,” as well as contribute to “NBC Nightly News.” NBC Universal Sports & Olympics Chair Dick Ebersol said that Olbermann “was in the midst of negotiations when [NBC Universal TV Group CEO] Jeff Zucker asked Ebersol if he would like Olbermann to become a part of NBC Sports again.” Ebersol: “I said, ‘Yeah,’ at the drop of the hat” (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 4/17). Olbermann said that he will “likely keep his left-leaning political opinions mostly confined” to “Countdown.” Olbermann: “I’m not going in there with any agenda” (N.Y. POST, 4/17). Ebersol said of Olbermann, “I’m sure there will be some phone calls from the [NFL] on Monday morning from occasional opinions that will come up now on ‘Football Night in America’” (NBC).

HAMMER TIME: While Hank Aaron has said that he will not attend the game when Barry Bonds breaks his career home run record, ESPN MLB announcer Jon Miller said that there were “several reasons” why he and partner Joe Morgan did not ask Aaron about Bonds during Sunday night’s Padres-Dodgers game. First, Aaron’s reps “said he was not willing to answer questions on topics other than Jackie Robinson. Second, Miller thought Aaron already addressed the issue in newspaper interviews. Third, Aaron was telling such great stories about Robinson, Miller did not see an opening to change the subject.” Miller: “I felt that if I asked that question, I’m asking it for some writer somewhere so I don’t get second-guessed. That wouldn’t be fair to Hank Aaron” (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/17).

WHITLOCK: In K.C., Jeffrey Flanagan writes K.C. Star columnist Jason Whitlock appeared yesterday on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” to discuss the Don Imus controversy, following recent appearances on CNN’s “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” “Anderson Cooper 360” and “American Morning,” NBC’s “Today” and MSNBC’s “Tucker.” What has “intrigued the national media recently is Whitlock’s contention that society ... should be far more appalled by the language and culture of hip-hop music than by Imus.” Whitlock taped a follow-up episode of “Oprah” that will air today (K.C. STAR, 4/17).

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