SBD/August 28, 2013/Media

"Olbermann" Again Features ESPN Guests As More Mixed Reviews Roll In

Olbermann last night tackled the topic of whether to pay college athletes
ESPN2's "Olbermann" featured ESPN talent as the show's first guest for a second consecutive night, as "PTI" co-host Tony Kornheiser appeared on last night's program. Host Keith Olbermann, who on Monday's debut episode brought in ESPN's Jason Whitlock, spoke with Kornheiser about Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel and the debate around paying college athletes. Olbermann introduced Kornheiser as "the man who succeeded me as the most difficult talent in ESPN history, by vote and general acclaim" ("Olbermann," ESPN2, 8/27). Reviews of the show continue to roll in, and in N.Y., Alessandra Stanley writes it seems Olbermann "isn't going to talk all that much about sports." Rather, he is mostly "going to talk about Keith Olbermann." His show topics appeared to "serve as allegories for his own experiences as a cable star turned celebrity flameout." Detractors may "wince at so much self-absorption, but it is actually a large part of Mr. Olbermann’s appeal." Some TV stars "can keep their narcissism off camera," but Olbermann "bathes in it." On "Olbermann," no detail "about the host is too small or too old to leave out." The show "may not be the most creative sports show on television, but it is any anchor's dream format" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/28). 

CHEERS & JEERS: SPORTS ON EARTH's Will Leitch wrote the show's structure "seems designed solely to amuse Olbermann." The program is "different and refreshing." Leitch: "I'm just not sure, in this form, it can become what it should be." Olbermann's Monday rant about N.Y. Daily News reporter Manish Mehta felt "less like a justified takedown and more like institutional bullying." Still, it is "an undeniable joy watching Olbermann simply talk for an hour." It was "riveting just to hear so many words said on a sports broadcast" (, 8/27). Blogger Ed Sherman wrote there is "plenty of potential for a compelling program." Olbermann on Monday's show had a "good interview with Mark Cuban and I enjoyed his Worst Person in Sports segment." Also, "nobody does sports highlights like Olbermann." But Sherman wrote, "I never make it to those segments if I wasn’t reviewing the show. I would have tuned out two minutes into that Jets stuff. And I have to think a significant number of viewers did" (, 8/27).
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