NBC confirmed that Keith Olbermann will serve as host of its cable coverage
of the Athens Summer Olympic Games, where he'll be on the air eight to 11 hours per day
hosting MSNBC's weekday coverage and CNBC's weekend coverage.
The two sides actually came to an agreement last fall but kept it secret
until NBC was ready to announce it Tuesday.
NBC earlier confirmed that Bob Costas will host the prime network feed.
NBC Sports and Olympics chairman Dick Ebersol also told reporters he's
negotiating with Pat O'Brien to also do some hosting chores for the cable
coverage at Athens.
The network is producing roughly 600 hours of cable coverage at the games.
Olbermann quipped that while he'll be working long, hard hours, the network
will have more than one-dozen other anchors sharing the work "in case I want to
golf at a charity event" -- an obvious reference to the controversy with Cable News Network's Aaron
Brown and the space-shuttle disaster.
Ebersol also said the network was negotiating with Jim Lampley, who handled
cable anchoring chores at Salt Lake City, to work on the broadcast-network
telecast during the Athens games. But apparently, those talks aren't going
smoothly. In fact, Ebersol made a pointed reference that they were going
"slowly," without elaborating.
Olbermann worked at MSNBC from 1997 through 1998, when he hosted two cable programs and
also occasionally anchored the weekend version of NBC Nightly News. He
also did work for NBC Sports, including serving as a dugout reporter and pregame
and postgame analyst for the network's World Series coverage.
His relationship with NBC News and MSNBC fell apart and he left for Fox
midway through his contract, but Ebersol said he'd
always admired Olbermann's work in sports and even tried to hire him for the
Sydney Games, but he was tied exclusively to Fox at the time.
The fences seemed to have been mended with MSNBC -- Olbermann has agreed to
do three stints as guest host of Nachman this week, and he may do more if both
sides are satisfied with the results.
Most recently Olbermann has been doing commentary for ABC Radio -- a deal that
goes through 2005.