Olbermann Returns -- As If He Never Left
The oft-fired/oft-hired Keith Olbermann, lastly with MSNBC, returned to the cameras Monday night on Al Gore's cable channel Current TV -- and television critics agreed that it was as if he had never been gone. "He is the same fast-talking, hard-charging, unapologetically self-righteous defender of his version of liberal ideology that he always was. Only this time he has a platform with no commercial constraints," wrote Los Angeles Times TV critic Mary McNamara. "Mr. Olbermann's new show looks the same as the old one, even down to the features, music and title, "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" but the pulpit is markedly different from his old perch at MSNBC," Alessandra Stanley noted in the New York Times . (Current TV, she observed, averages only about 50,000 viewers in primetime. But Hank Stuever in the Washington Post , who noted that his new show is "barely rejiggered," suggested that Current TV may be the most hospitable soap box on which Olbermann has ever landed. "Here, Olbermann gets to call all the shots," Stuever wrote, "what gets covered, what gets said, who gets attacked. He will have to answer to no voice other than his own." Even the Baltimore Sun 's David Zurawik, a frequent Olbermann critic, praised what he called "a highly informed conversation" between the host and guest contributor Michael Moore, whom Zurawik has also criticized in the past. On the other hand, he lambasted Olbermann for a "reckless and self-indulgent" closing segment with DailyKos.com's Markos Moulitsas, who accused MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and MSNBC general manager Phil Griffin of blacklisting him from the channel. Wrote Zurawik "Did Olbermann challenge or correct him? Don't be silly. This was a staged conversation that had nothing to do with truth."