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September 30, 2014

Countdown

Keith Olbermann Should Lighten Up... But So Should Pat Sajak

by Joel Keller, posted Nov 11th 2010 3:40PM
Keith Olbermann on 'The Pat Sajak Show' in 1989That Pat Sajak is a sneaky guy.

It seems like the 'Wheel of Fortune' host has initiated a bit of a dust-up with Keith Olbermann, mainly by giving a "mea culpa" for introducing Keith Olbermann to a national audience on his short-lived CBS late night talk show in 1989. Olbermann responded in his usual humorless way, writing that he had been on CNN for years before doing Sajak's show, and following that up by writing in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way, "I think if he needs to apologize for anything it needs to be that talk show."

I was about to write a post directed at Olbermann that said, in effect, "Lighten up, Francis," because I had found Sajak's mea culpa on his surprisingly clever and funny Twitter feed. But then my fellow Squadder Bob was kind enough to point me to Sajak's blog on the conservative website Ricochet, where I read the emcee's complete take on the matter. Not quite as lighthearted as that Twitter entry, is it?

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Richard Wolffe returns to Countdown

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 2nd 2009 3:02PM
Richard_wolffe_msnbcFor regular viewers of Keith Olbermann's MSNBC show, the chemistry has been a little off for the past month. The reason was simple. Richard Wolffe was missing from the opening segment. Well, the missing man has been reinstated. Effective last night, Richard Wolffe was back on MSNBC's Countdown.

Talk about a mountain being made of a mole hill. Wolffe's exile had been prompted by a presumed conflict of interest. Wolffe's work load includes working with a D.C. public affairs firm called Public Strategies Inc.

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House ain't crazy - he's got snakes on a cane

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Aug 20th 2009 2:21PM

House - Snakes on a Cane
For those of you who can't wait for the two-hour season premiere of House on Monday, September 21st, FOX is making it easy for you - especially if you can't count. SnakesOnACane.com provides a handy little countdown clock and also features a nifty little picture of our favorite curmudgeon doing his best Superman impression. Plus, you gotta love the play on words and the twist (no pun intended) on the Rod of Asclepius.

However, what's most intriguing about the whole thing is the little blue Post-It note.

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Keith Olbermann takes on Miss California

by Bob Sassone, posted May 13th 2009 6:09PM
First let me say that this is NOT a "political" post. I'm posting this video because it concerns something that happened on television recently that has somehow consumed all of the local and national newscasts (and it's a beauty pageant, of all things). It features MSNBC's Keith Olbermann and his take on the whole Miss California (Carrie Prejean) controversy. It's an interesting video essay. I think that Prejean can think whatever she wants to think and Perez Hilton is kind of a moron. I also think that Olbermann gets in a few good points.

Visit msnbc.com for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

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MSNBC looking for a new star at 10 o'clock

by Allison Waldman, posted Jan 23rd 2009 3:00PM
logoWhile NBC is committing all its ten o'clock hours next fall to Jay Leno, MSNBC is looking for a ten o'clock star. They want a show to secure stronger foothold on prime time by filling that hour with a new show.

Right now, it presents a rerun of Countdown with Keith Olbermann, but that's not how it's going to remain. Phil Griffin, MSNBC prez, would like to develop a new hour to go along with Countdown and The Rachel Maddow Show, and presumably build on the audience Olbermann and Maddow are generating.

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Keith Olbermann inks a new four year deal

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 11th 2008 11:04AM
Keith OHere's some news that's bound to equally thrill and displease readers. MSNBC has given Keith Olbermann a new four year deal, ensuring that Countdown with Keith Olbermann remains in the cable's primetime lineup. For fans of Olbermann, the prospect of Keith's continued commentaries and his clever interpretation of the news is a good thing. For those who loathe the man -- and there are just as many detractors as fans -- this is one more reason to be ticked off with MSNBC.

The fact is that TV success doesn't depend on having everybody love you. There are many stars, in fact, who are polarizing figures. Either you love them or you love to hate them. The point is that you don't ignore them. So, Keith Olbermann will remain a part of the public discourse and that means the best media feud of the decade goes on -- Olbermann versus Bill O'Reilly.

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Anderson Cooper is today's Edward R. Murrow

by Allison Waldman, posted Oct 25th 2008 8:33AM
Anderson Cooper1Don't tell Keith Olbermann -- he of the Countdown special commentaries -- but CNN's Anderson Cooper is the Edward R. Murrow of our era. That's according to Lisa DePaulo of Elle, but the popularity and proliferation of Cooper, from CNN to CBS's 60 Minutes to anchoring Times' Square on New Year's Eve and filling in for Regis Philbin on Live with Regis and Kelly, backs up her assertion.

"He is our generation's Edward R. Murrow; that is, if Murrow were this good-looking and had lived in a world with Gawker and TMZ," DePaulo writes. "This is not just because of Cooper's exacting standards of journalism-hard work, legwork, no-divaness. He's a purist, really-like Murrow."

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Matthews and Olbermann removed from election coverage

by Richard Keller, posted Sep 9th 2008 8:21PM

Matthews and Olbermann have been relegated to the sidelines in political coverageIn a move that can be considered either a turn back to neutral coverage of political events or a fearful tactic to curb further criticism on their network, NBC News has decided to dump Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as co-anchors of NSNBC's election coverage. Replacing them on the upcoming debates and election night will be White House correspondent David Gregory.

Some say the decision to drop the two most popular personalities on the network from the coverage stemmed from what critics both within and without the organization feared was the channel's perceived shift to the political left (though, many have said that MSNBC has always leaned left as opposed to FOX News that leans right. Apparently, none of their shoes have the same-sized heels.). Others say their demotion stemmed from numerous complaints that came after Olbermann's rant after a 9/11 tribute video was shown at the Republican National Convention. Then there are those who feel their on-air tiffs during the coverage resembled something out of Gossip Girl.

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The Rachel Maddow Show (series premiere)

by Allison Waldman, posted Sep 9th 2008 10:05AM
Rachel Maddow portraitThe most famous Rachel on TV today isn't the same one that made Jennifer Aniston a star. And it's Rachael with the extra "E" that's the syndicated star of a talk show that won the Emmy in 2008. But the newest Rachel on the air is MSNBC's plucky new host of her own show, Rachel Maddow. Like Aniston, Rachel Maddow's hairdoo is fashionable, and like Ray, Maddow's very personable. However, The Rachel Maddow Show is worlds apart from Friends or 30 Minute Meals/The Rachael Ray Show. Maddow is all about politics, current events and things that, by and large, are important.

In some ways, The Rachel Maddow Show is a spinoff of Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Maddow has been a regular sub for Olbermann, proving her prowess to MSNBC, and her show has a cushy spot between the first run of Countdown at 8 p.m. ET and the replay at 10 p.m. For the premiere episode, in fact, Keith appeared as Rachel's first guest -- a crossover from the end of Countdown where Rachel was interviewed in the last segment before the close. This was a smart move, sort of like a bridge from his show to hers, a bridge to somewhere if you will.

The new studio for Maddow has the quality MSNBC look, glass top desk, plasma screens, obnoxious -- but expected -- graphics on the bottom and bugs and flags reinforcing information as it's spoken.

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Rachel Maddow takes Dan Abrams' spot on MSNBC

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 20th 2008 8:39AM
Rachel MaddowIf you watch MSNBC for the politics fix, no doubt you have seen Rachel Maddow. She's one of the talking heads, a politically savvy woman who has been featured on shows like Hardball with Chris Matthews and Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

In fact, she's been Keith's regular fill-in this summer, a sure sign that she's MSNBC's star on the rise. The network has just announced that Rachel Maddow has been chosen to replace MSNBC's Dan Abrams, bumping his show Verdict out of the primetime lineup.

Maddow is getting a great spot on MSNBC, right after Countdown at 9 p.m. Abrams is not getting kicked to the curb. Like when Tucker Carlson lost his show and remained one of the net's pundits.

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I hate the new Sportscenter commercials - VIDEO

by Allison Waldman, posted Aug 6th 2008 1:43PM
Sportscenter logoHave you seen the annoying new ad campaign for the ESPN SportsCenter relaunch? If you watch even a half-hour of ESPN programming -- or like me, Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption -- you can't miss these commercials.

There's a young, 20-something guy named Steve running around with a bulky, scoreboard-like digital clock with a strap that hangs around his neck like he's a peanut vendor at a baseball game.

The ads show him going through his day -- working out at the gym, jogging -- while he's waiting for the launch of the new, 9-hour SportsCenter on August 11. The commercials are completely live, which I grant you is novel, but they are not funny, clever or up to the ESPN standard. I hate them. They're jarring, poorly done and, like I said, annoying. I guess some genius in marketing decided that any way to make the viewer remember that a new format is coming is good enough.

Here's a sample of Steve's work (don't say I didn't warn you!):

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Olbermann snipes back at Chris Wallace and Fox News - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 21st 2008 12:23PM
Keith OlbermannI caught up to Keith Olbermann at NBC's all star party last night, and talked to him a little bit about the election, the origin of his "Special Comments," and getting back to doing highlights with Dan Patrick. More on that in a few days. But the first thing on my mind was if he read the comments uttered by Fox News' Chris Wallace earlier in the tour, notably that MSNBC's election coverage was biased because commentators like Olbermann are used as anchors.

"Oh yeah, I thought they were disingenuous and ill-informed," he told me, "because during the primaries as I'm sitting there, and we have the other monitors on, and a couple of weeks at least I saw O'Reilly on in the middle of the primaries, one week Laura Ingrahm filling in for O'Reilly, and Hannity and Colmes at 9:00. It's the same thing, whether you officially say, 'Well, this is not our election coverage between 8 and 10, but between 6 and 7 was, and 10 to 12 was ... ' It's a game being played that's pretty silly."

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Five TV stars who've exceeded expectations

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 29th 2008 1:24PM
Ty in suedeWhen I look at some of the people who have emerged as today's biggest stars on TV, I scratch my head and wonder, "how did that happen?" There are a few stars who have completely exceeded my expectations -- and I bet yours, too. In fact, after you read my five (no cell phone pun intended), I'm betting that you'll have a few more overachievers to add to the list.

1) Ty Pennington
I'm not ashamed to admit that for a couple of years I was hooking on TLC's Trading Spaces. It may have been the perky Paige Davis, the home improvement on a $1,000, the cool things that the designers did in just 24 hours -- whatever it was, I was a regular viewer. Oh, yes, there was also a carpenter on the show named Ty Pennington.
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This is the CBS Evening News ... with Keith Olbermann?

by Bob Sassone, posted Jun 16th 2008 1:24PM

OlbermannInteresting (and very long) article in The New Yorker about Keith Olbermann. Mostly it's about Olbermann's career, his take on the news, his battles against various politicians, his special comments, and what others at MSNBC think of him (they even interviewed Tim Russert for the story), but there's a very intriguing morsel halfway through the piece that got my attention.

Olbermann was interviewed twice to take over for Dan Rather on The CBS Evening News.

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What the Tuck? Carlson's show yanked

by Allison Waldman, posted Mar 10th 2008 7:23PM
Tucker CarlsonArch, conservative, preppie guy Tucker Carlson has been ousted from his MSNBC show. Carlson's one-hour talk show, called Tucker, has been canceled. NBC News correspondent David Gregory will take over the hour slot, 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, which will be called Race for the White House. This week will be Carlson's last. Gregory starts on Monday, March 17.

MSNBC is reportedly making a series of changes, amping up the political chatter. Considering how much politicking is going on now, including Tucker, it's hard to fathom how switching Carlson for Gregory is going to increase the discourse.

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