Keith Olbermann officially returned to the networks of ESPN on Monday, August 26 with his new late night talker, “Olbermann” on ESPN2. The program, which led out of night one coverage of tennis’ U.S. Open (636,000 Total Viewers; A18-49: 178,000), drew an average of 319,000 total viewers and 147,000 adults 18-49, according to live plus same day Nielsen data.
Comparatively, the figure is a marked improvement from the same night and time two weeks prior when a sports talk program had aired (repeat of “SportsNation”: 138,000 total viewers; A18-49: 101,000). For the week of August 19-25, 2013, per day (6 a.m. to 5:59 a.m.), ESPN2 averaged 229,000 total viewers and 103,000 viewers aged 18 thru 49.
Olbermann first received national recognition as an anchor on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” from 1992 to 1997. During his ESPN tenure, he was ESPN2’s most prominent figure when that sister channel launched in 1993. He then went on to report on sports for Fox Sports Net from 1998 to 2001. From 2003 to 2012, he ventured into reporting (and commenting) on the political realm of news with famed stints at MSNBC and Current TV.
His return to ESPN’s networks has been observed as a counter measure to the ballyhooed recent launch of the new cable sports network, FOX Sports 1. Airing directly opposite “Olbermann,” FOX Sports 1’s “FOX Sports Live” averaged just 44,000 total viewers and 24,000 viewers in Adults 18-49. (The midnight edition of “FOX Sports Live” did perk up to 99,000 total viewers and 74,000 viewers in Adults 18-49).