There are still many questions surrounding Keith Olbermann’s return to ESPN, and with his new series, “Olbermann,” set to premiere in a month, the cantankerous commentator attempted to answer some of them today (July 24) at the TCA summer press tour.
The session’s hottest topic was Olbermann’s recent past as a political pundit and whether or not his contract forbids him from spouting off on certain hot button topics at ESPN — as reported by The New York Times.
“The Times report was wrong,” Olbermann said. “It referred to a contractual clause. There is no such clause. There were also references [in the article] to having pop culture segments and such [on the show] that was also inaccurate. I don’t know where that came from.”
But just because Olbermann may be allowed to talk politics, it doesn’t mean he will. “I’m not intending to talk about politics, certainly not in the partisan sense,” he continued. “For the simple reason it’s a sports show. There will be occasions — if Barack Obama runs onto the field during an All Star game we’ll have to talk about that — but I hope not to mention [John Boehner’s] name at all during the show or anyone else.
“I’ve done and enjoy and own the work I did in politics and news, but that’s not what this is. I wanted to go back into sports. [But] there’s nothing preventing me from [talking about politics] other than common sense.”
When asked if he’ll miss sharing his opinions on certain topics, Olbermann said he’s actually looking forward to the change. “It wasn’t that much fun,” he said of his recent work. “For everything else you’ve heard about it, I had a lot of fun doing ‘SportsCenter’ two decades and one century ago.”
Still, when a reporter raised the topic of Anthony Weiner’s controversial press conference, Olbermann couldn’t resist tackling it head on. “I think that he stole a great fake hotel sign-in name that I would’ve liked to have used,” Olbermann joked. “The idea that anyone could call themselves under any circumstances and for any purpose Carlos Danger is a tribute to something about him.”
And then he cited it as a prime example of a political pop culture story too big to ignore on ESPN: “I guarantee you, Carlos Danger will turn up somehow in the first show.”