Keith Olbermann

Sportscaster and newscaster Keith Olbermann is best known for hosting ESPN’s SportsCenter and his own MSNBC/Current TV nightly news program, Countdown with Keith Olbermann.


Keith Olbermann was born in New York City on January 27, 1959. From 1992 to 1997, Olbermann co-hosted ESPN's SportsCenter. During his years as a sportscaster, he also hosted MSNBC's White House in Crisis and The Big Show. From 2001 to 2003, Olbermann was a CNN correspondent on News Night. In 2003, he was made host of his own MSNBC nightly news program, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, but was fired in 2012.

Early Life

Keith Olbermann was born in Manhattan on January 27, 1959, but was raised primarily in Westchester County, New York. When Olbermann was just 17 years old, he worked as a stringer for United Press International, a major news agency that provided journalistic material to magazines, newspapers and radio and television broadcasting companies.

Olbermann received his Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in 1979. While at Cornell, he worked as sport director for Ithaca’s radio station, WVBR, which was run by local college students.


By the time he was 20 years old, the high-achieving Olbermann had joined UPI's national radio network. With UPI, he performed an array of high-profile tasks, from reporting and anchoring to commentating. A year later, Olbermann achieved the honor of covering the 1980 Olympic Games, and was also assigned to cover the World Series.

In 1981 Olbermann made his television sportscasting debut on CNN. In 1984 he spent a short time as sports anchor for WCNB-TV of Boston. After leaving WCNB, Olbermann spent the next several years as a radio sportscaster in Los Angeles.

In 1992 Olbermann was hired to co-host ESPN’s TV program SportsCenter. His stint on SportsCenter lasted five years, and gained Olbermann national recognition. While working for ESPN, Olbermann was selected to additionally host the newly launched ESPN Radio Network, as well as the television station ESPN2. During his time on SportsCenter, Olbermann branched out into writing and co-wrote The Big Show, an autobiographical book about what it was like for him to work for ESPN.

In 1997 Olbermann quit his job with ESPN to work for both NBC Sports and NBC News. Within a year’s time, Fox Sports bought Olbermann’s contract from NBC, repositioning Olbermann as host of the pregame show for Fox’s Baseball Game of the Week as well as host of the network’s All-Star Game coverage. Fox likewise gave Olbermann the opportunity to cover the World Series. Olbermann was eventually promoted to senior correspondent of Fox Sports News, a show designed to compete with ESPN’s SportsCenter.


During Olbermann's later years as a sportscaster, he furthered his experience in news broadcasting by hosting MSNBC's White House in Crisis and The Big Show. In 2001, Olbermann returned to his former employer, CNN. As a correspondent on CNN's News Night, he also filled in for the network's other anchors, as necessary.

Olbermann rejoined MSNBC in 2003, at first as a stand-in host on Nachman and an anchorman covering the war in Iraq. In the spring of that year, Olbermann was awarded his best-known position to date, as host of his own MSNBC nightly news program, Countdown with Keith Olbermann. The show offered audiences a summary of the five most pressing news stories of the day. Olbermann provided his own analysis and commentary for each news item, and interviewed people related to the stories. The show ran on MSNBC until 2011, at which time it was picked up by the progressive media network Current TV.

Although Current TV offered Olbermann a five-year contract, in 2012 the company terminated his employment for an alleged breach of contract. Current TV replaced Olbermann with former New York governor and CNN News talk-show host Eliot Spitzer.

Over the course of his broadcasting career, Olbermann has received a number of prestigious awards for his work in both television and radio. These include 11 Golden Mike Awards, and an Edward R. Murrow award for his coverage of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

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