Keith Olbermann is a free agent since Al Gore cut him lose. Oprah Winfrey’s OWN cable channel is struggling and needs heavyweight star power to get on track. Politically, liberal Keith and Oprah are on the same page. Assuming both can check their massive egos at the door, it’s a match made in heaven.
Olbermann fumed at the lack of production savvy at Current TV, reportedly dismissing the venture as little more that a step up from a prime-time cable access station. That sounds pretty petty.
To be fair to Al, Keith should have spent a couple of days watching Current before signing the $50M contract. It’s apparent to all that Current isn’t exactly in the same league as Olbermann’s old stomping grounds of MSNBC and ESPN.
Winfrey however does have a first-class operation behind her. OWN is backed by Discovery Communications, which is a very savvy cable network.
Discovery modestly calls itself world’s No. 1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5B cumulative subscribers in 210 countries and territories via its 130 TV networks like Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science and Investigation Discovery.
Discovery is among the most profitable companies in the U.S., earning $1.1B on $4.2B in 2011 revenues. Funding a revamped Oprah with a rebounding Keith would be chump change for Discovery.
Known for his short-fuse, Keith talks about launching a lawsuit against Al. That’s silly. [Full disclosure: I'm a fan of Keith and Al.] A legal squabble would be music to the ears of the conservative world that already consider Olbermann and Gore two rich targets. A legal squabble (over such compelling issues as shoddy lighting or failing to hire a publicist of all things) would only damage the Olbermann brand.
Keith, who is slated to make an appearance on David Letterman’s show tomorrow, should forget the lawsuit. He should take in a couple of games of the new baseball season and then reach out to Oprah, who could use a ratings boost.