Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Fading Of Keith

I can't say I was shocked to learn that Current sacked Keith Olbermann. Judging from earlier accounts, the relationship has been stormy to say the least, with Keith showing up for work on a non-regular basis, reportedly displeased with his situation at the relatively new gig. At this point, I for one have no idea who's to blame. Is Keith really the difficult prima donna he's being made out to be, or is he just a demanding professional that desires top quality in his work and from everyone involved to that end? Beats me, it may be a combination of both but we're very likely to learn more when the lawsuit unfolds.

It's really a shame. Keith Olbermann continues to fade. I've been watching Keith since his MSNBC stint and while he continued to be his inimitable self on Current, to me his show gradually became non-essential viewing. I would continue to tune in to hear what Keith had to say about the issues of the day, but it did seem as if he was increasingly mailing it in, offering up obligatory outrage when expected, but even that became a rare occasion.

In his defense, the Current show did not have an appealing look. It did appear low-budget and almost grainy to the eye, as if filmed using old cameras and poor lighting. All you had to do was flip over to MSNBC to see the contrast. That said it's very difficult to attract an audience when viewers must strain and wince to literally watch the program. Score one for Keith: Current apparently didn't invest enough in the production values of the show.

However, as I mentioned, Keith himself seemed to exude less energy over the last few months, perhaps realizing the inevitable was near. But I have to assume he had full say over who would be regular contributors on his show and apart from Matt Taibi, most were quite frankly boring and offered very little when it came to eye-opening insights or provocative commentary. Snore.

My favorite Countdown contributor from the MSNBC days was Jonathan Alter as he always provided very honest and rigorous commentary, saying what he thought in a very intelligent manner, not overly worrying about offending someone. That's not to say he was ever offensive, but rather he would not pull punches and justifiably pointed out wrongs and hypocrisy. He was refreshing and always made me tune in to see if he might be on the show.

With Current, the contributors became very young, and with that oddly enough more conventional in their commentary, voicing primarily dignified pap that while liberal was exceedingly sanitized. In that respect, score one for Current as Keith allowed the content of his show to slip, significantly.

Will Keith put a halt to this long, drawn-out fade and show up elsewhere, reinvigorated and better than ever? Who knows. It does seem evident that he is quite the volatile personality who ultimately may only succeed doing things 100% his way, on his own terms. To me that hints at a fee-based podcast of sorts, or something like Glenn Beck TV (oh, the irony).

Or maybe that's it, we never hear from Keith again, except for the occasional op-ed or book release. Lord knows he's made many millions in his career, allowing for early retirement.

But then who foresaw the Current gig post-MSNBC? He can surprise. In the meantime, the right-wing will have a field day with the Al Gore vs. Keith Olbermann pending lawsuit and back/forth war of words. It doesn't take much to get the knuckle-draggers worked up in a frothy lather....


Pachydiplax said...

Oprah has a network that needs programming...

mikeb302000 said...

The "Worst persons in the world" began to bore me.