“We’re trying to be at the spearhead of what’s obvious in television information programming: whether news or sports, it’s migrating to some form of online/download, just as broadcast was migrating to cable back when my tenure in the industry (two years) was twice as long as my new employer CNN’s (one year),” Olbermann told Deadline in an email exchange today.
The program will focus on the election cycle, but may go off the rails some days because, well, Keith Olbermann.
“It’ll basically recap and categorize the most extraordinary things of Trump’s campaign so far, so that we can get a sense of the crazy forest rather than just the crazy trees,” the former MSNBC and ESPN show host explained.
The goal will be two commentaries each week, he said, adding, “We figure to produce more than that, plus periodic interviews, but exactly when and how often – that’s to be determined.”
“Overall the commentaries will be very familiar to viewers of the old ‘Special Comments’ – and just as unpredictable in length,” he described.
Expect the project to lift off around 8 AM ET tomorrow, with the first commentary clocking in at about 17 minutes in length, accompanied by a text version with hyperlinks for your reference, further reading, etc.
“In doing preliminary work on other scripts, I think we also have a seven-minute piece and a three-minute one in the pipeline. It’s the internet, it doesn’t have to be one size fits all,” Olbermann said happily.
Olbermann called it “extraordinary, and extraordinarily moving, that we are filming The Closer at GQ – which is in The World Trade Center. That’s the same site where I began my TV career for CNN 35 years ago last month.”
In case you’re wondering what to expect, we asked Olbermann his thoughts on today’s big election-cycle story, Hillary Clinton’s pneumonia. “It’s hilarious to see people on television explain how none of this would’ve been a problem had the diagnosis been announced Friday. Bullshit! The reaction would’ve been ‘Oh! Suddenly she has pneumonia! I’ll bet! That’s convenient. How dare she take time off? What, she only got it today?’,” Olbermann shot back.
“We sometimes denigrate voters, but the easiest group to spin are today’s TV folks. As in this case, they’re self-spinning.”
Olbermann’s take on Matt Lauer’s Commander-in-Chief Forum?
“About Matt, well, I think we’re lucky he didn’t follow up one of Trump’s lies by saying, ‘And the next thing that’ll float right past me will be our old pal Snoopy, who’s been a Thanksgiving Day staple since 1968!’,” he wrote back.
“Between that and the Brokaw gaffe — [Brokaw cited, on air, “a Republican who was inside, and he was raising questions as well…saying he didn’t know if this is true, but here are the incidents”] — holy cow. I picked the right week to not be Andy Lack.”
Here’s Olbermann’s tease posted this morning for The Closer:
In March, Olbermann called Trump “just perhaps the most dangerous presidential candidate since the guy in the middle of the Civil War who wanted to give up in 1864.” Back then, appearing on The View, Olbermann thought the GOP establishment would successfully bar Trump from getting the nomination at the party convention – because that’s what they do….They’re really good of preventing things from happening that should otherwise happen,” he forecast, incorrectly.
Olbermann, who most recently left ESPN in July of ’15, got maybe the best real estate ad ever, when The Washington Post ran his opinion piece, “I Can’t Stand to Live in a Trump Building Anymore” announcing he was selling his home in a Trump tower. More recently, he authored a guide to surviving media coverage of Trump, for Politico.