Keith Olbermann used a conference call with reporters Friday morning to preemptively defend the early ratings of his Current TV version of Countdown, which he admitted the network is not expecting to be phenomenal.
He said there are no set ratings targets for the premiere on June 20, and said he would be satisfied if the 10 people in the show’s control room were the only ones that saw it.
“You’re going to hear a lot from certain former employers of mine” about premiere ratings, Olbermann said, but reinforced that he wasn’t concerned about early numbers.
“What we’re interested in are the ratings really for the year 2013, once the elections settle down,” he said. “We’re in this for the long haul; we’re in this to build a 24-hour a day operation.”
In addition to formally announcing David Schuster as guest host, as previously reported, Countdown named nine additional contributors to the program: Rolling Stone journalist Matt Taibbi; John Dean, former White House counsel to President Richard Nixon; Heather McGhee, director of the Washington office of Demos, a non-partisan policy center; Jonathan Turley, law professor at The George Washington University School of Law; comedian and activist Maysoon Zayid; Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones energy and environmental reporter and investigative journalist; author Jeremy Scahill; actor Donald Sutherland and Derrick Pitts, chief astronomer and planetarium director for the Franklin Institute.
Pitts, along with previously announced contributor Ken Burns, will appear in a non-political role.