Keith Olbermann's Current TV debut: Same old Countdown?

The former MSNBC host brought his show — and combative style — to a new network Monday night, in a much-dissected debut

After his abrupt departure from MSNBC in January, Keith Olbermann returned to TV on Monday night... looking and sounding pretty much exactly the same.
(Image credit: YouTube)

The video: Five months after he abruptly left MSNBC, Keith Olbermann returned to television Monday night, bringing his once-popular program to the "little-watched" Current TV network. Olbermann's new show is a lot like the old one. (Watch part of the show below.) The title remains Countdown with Keith Olbermann, the intro music is the same, and the show still includes the hallmark "Worst Person" segment, and a Special Comment by the liberal host. "Familiar" guests included progressive filmmaker Michael Moore and Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas. Olbermann's show, which began at 8 p.m., ran about four minutes past 9 p.m., and will continue to run about 63 minutes long in an apparent attempt to undercut MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, which starts at 9 p.m

The reaction: "Some performers might have taken those five months to tinker with their format, rather than reappearing in the summer with the same show, in the same time slot, but on a network with a significantly smaller audience," says Ray Gustini at The Atlantic Wire. "Not Olbermann." Yes, "the first thing you notice about Countdown with Keith Olbermann is its similarity to Countdown with Keith Olbermann," says James Poniewozik at TIME. Besides the "generic" backdrop and "1980s-local-newscast" graphics, Olbermann just "picked up where he left off." Still, the first 58 minutes of the show were "promising," says David Zurawik in The Baltimore Sun. But the closing anti-MSNBC segment with Moulitsas was an exercise in "insider madness, lack of editorial judgment and self-indulgence." If the notoriously thin-skinned Olbermann doesn't rein that in, Current co-founder Al Gore may regret bringing Olbermann on board. Watch clips from Olbermann's new Countdown:

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us