SBD/June 6, 2013/Media

Turner's David Levy Says Keith Olbermann Discussions Began In December

Olbermann’s deal reportedly has an option for a long-term relationship
Turner President of Sales, Distribution & Sports David Levy first met with broadcaster Keith Olbermann and his agent, CAA's Nick Khan, in December about Olbermann anchoring TBS’ MLB postseason studio coverage, and "several meetings and conversations followed, as Levy got comfortable with the idea of bringing Olbermann aboard," according to Marisa Guthrie of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Levy said, "We really talked about the position, about how he perceived the position and about how he’d work with other people. ... This was about getting back to something that he really wanted to do. He knows baseball. He has a passion for it. And I’m willing to take that risk because I think he’s that talented." Levy would not directly comment on the length of Olbermann’s deal, but sources said that there is "an option for a long-term relationship." Levy said his goal is to "have this studio show be as good as all our studio shows and last a long, long time.” But he "stressed that the TBS job was not a springboard to a broader gig at other Turner assets" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 6/5). SI.com's Richard Deitsch wrote Olbermann's hiring is "a no-lose move" for Turner. Olbermann is a "passionate baseball fan and a talented studio host." The games "will be the draw and those who refuse to watch Olbermann given his politics ... are a small minority compared to those who will tune in because they want analysis prior to a game" (SI.com, 6/5). Awful Announcing's Matt Yoder wrote on his Twitter feed, “Keith Olbermann has found at least one previously unburnt bridge at TBS Baseball.”

MEDIA DARLING: In N.Y., Bob Raissman noted Levy also extended the contract of analyst Ron Darling, which "takes him out of the running as a candidate" to replace Fox MLB analyst Tim Carver. There was "plenty of speculation pointing to Darling having a major shot at the Fox job." Darling said that "neither he or his agent had conversations" with Fox, but that he "was 'intrigued' by the Fox gig because he held McCarver in such high regard." Darling said of the impact the Fox speculation had on his re-signing with Turner, "I don’t know if it got me more money, but speeding up the process was a good thing." Levy said that the Fox situation "played no role in his decision to extend Darling’s contract" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 6/5).
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