Keith Olbermann

Opinionated host to set up NBC football

Olbermann has strong opinions on the state of national and international affairs, and his willingness to share them on a nightly basis has made his show “Countdown” a cornerstone of the MSNBC cable lineup.

But when he’s not expounding on President Bush, Iraq, Bill O’Reilly and the ever-changing “Worst Person in the World,” he buries his head in the sports pages. He began his broadcasting career as a sports guy, and the gravitational pull of that world periodically brings him back.

This fall Olbermann will expand his duties by serving as co-host for NBC’s “Football Night in America” show, a table setter for its Sunday night game telecasts. The move is not without risk. Football fans will remember the failed experiment that was Rush Limbaugh’s inclusion on ESPN’s NFL studio coverage. The conservative radio talkshow host stepped out of his comfort zone, made a controversial remark about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb and resigned under fire soon after.

Olbermann professes a liberal point of view on “Countdown,” yet his breadth of experience in broadcasting — especially in sports — may enable him to step carefully through the minefield of opinions that Limbaugh failed to maneuver.

But time will tell as this countdown begins.

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