SBD/March 4, 2013/Media

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  • Olbermann Seeks Path Back To ESPN; Skipper Indicates Return Not Imminent

    Olbermann's recent overtures to ESPN include a dinner in N.Y. with John Skipper

    Broadcaster Keith Olbermann and his reps at various times over the last year “have expressed interest in his return to ... ESPN,” according to James Andrew Miller of the N.Y. TIMES. Olbermann’s “expressions of interest included dinner” at N.Y.’s Four Seasons Restaurant with ESPN President John Skipper. Skipper said, “I agreed to dinner with Keith because I assumed he’d be provocative and witty and fun to have dinner with, and he was indeed lots of fun. We talked sports and politics, and we had a nice chat. He is very interesting. Clearly he was looking to see if there was an entry point to come back.” A source said that in the months since the dinner, Olbermann’s reps “have campaigned at ESPN for possible opportunities.” But Skipper “indicated that a return for Olbermann was not imminent.” Skipper: “After the dinner, at that point, there was no real appropriate place for Keith to come back, nor did I feel like I was prepared to bring him back.” Skipper added, “There’s no such thing as a condemned list. That said, this is not an easy place to get back into” (N.Y. TIMES, 3/4). ESPN's Bomani Jones wrote, "i have no inside info here, or much to say, but this sounds like somebody's running low on places to turn." Twitter Media's Ben Grossman wrote, "How long does napalm take to wear off?" Meanwhile, Deadspin's Josh Koblin wrote, "Skipper's comments a reminder to restless ESPN talent: If you leave, you're not coming back" (TWITTER.com, 3/4).

    WHAT ROLE WOULD HE HAVE? AWFUL ANNOUNCING's Ken Fang writes the odds "are pretty firm against" Olbermann returning, though he speculates about what Olbermann's role would be should he come back to the net. Olbermann likely has "outgrown doing highlights on a nightly basis" on "SportsCenter." However, he could host "Baseball Tonight" on "nights when Karl Ravech is off." Fang: "With his encyclopedic knowledge, tapping Keith's mind for various documentaries could add some perspective, not to mention some colorful descriptions. And there's always the .com aspect where Keith could write for a blog on the website similar to his posts for MLBlogs.com" (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 3/4).

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  • Media Notes

    SI.com’s Richard Deitsch reported CBS’ Lesley Visser “will no longer work as a sideline reporter ... after three decades of reporting during games for the network.” Visser will “transition to features and enterprise work.” Her latest stint with CBS began in ‘00 after spending seven years with ESPN and ABC in the ‘90s (SI.com, 3/3).

    CROSSING OVER: MULTICHANNEL NEWS' Mike Reynolds reported ESPN under a multimedia rights extension will "vastly expand its coverage of Mexico’s leading soccer league and cup competition, including its initial English-language presentations of that nation’s club matches in the U.S." ESPN’s deal with Azteca América "encompasses rights to Liga MX." The deal "enhances ESPN’s multiplatform coverage of those soccer properties by placing, for the first time, Mexican club matches on ESPN2 and ESPNEWS, while adding more Spanish-language games on ESPN Deportes, which has been sublicensing Liga MX matches." The deal also "calls for extensive highlights across ESPN’s English-language and Spanish-language studio programming and digital platforms" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 3/3).

    FOREIGN RELATIONS: In L.A., Steve Dilbeck reported the Dodgers are "not only planning to add a Korean-language TV broadcast next season, but they also are looking at adding Korean-language radio broadcasts." A source said that the Korean-language broadcasts could begin "possibly as soon as the coming season." The Dodgers are "reacting mostly to interest generated in Southern California's Korean community by the addition" of P Hyun-Jin Ryu (LATIMES.com, 3/2).

    NO GOOD DEED...: In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes HBO, "in addition to helping make" boxer Floyd Mayweather more than $100M for nine fights, "consistently produced image pieces on him that ignored or minimized his incivility and criminality, which included a three-month stretch for domestic battery." Mushnick: "And where did it get HBO? Mayweather jumped ship to Showtime/CBS for more money" (N.Y. POST, 3/4).

    SAFETY DANCE: In Boston, Greg Bedard asked, "What is the deal with the NFL Network’s over-the-top coverage of the injury recoveries of Darrelle Revis and Robert Griffin III? Wow, breaking news that they’re going well." The news would be "if it’s not going well." Bedard: "Do people outside of their teams really care? No. This is the NFL trying to enhance its player-safety stance" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/3).

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