Keith Olbermann Will Return To SportsCenter

According to a release from ESPN, big changes are in store for Keith Olbermann. Not only is his show being rescued from its ever-changing late-night time slot, but Keith himself will return to the SportsCenter anchor desk for the first time since 1997.

Olbermann' show has officially been on the air for a year. The fact that he hasn't been suspended is almost as big a sign that he's done all right as ESPN giving him a better time slot. Norby:

"We feel that strategically shifting the time of this show will not only provide access to a broader audience, but gives us greater flexibility for Keith to do cross-platform opportunities, including hosting key editions of SportsCenter surrounding major news or events throughout the year, while enabling us to secure a more consistent time slot to showcase his distinctive voice."

It's not clear when or how often Olbermann will take SportsCenter hosting duties, but it sounds like it might be just for special events—which is probably just fine with Olbermann.

But the real news isn't the promise of the return of one half of the Big Show. It's where Olbermann is heading: 5:00 p.m. on ESPN2, to be followed at 5:30 by Outside the Lines. That's two of ESPN's more—highbrow? political? respectable?—shows, now going head-to-head against juggernauts Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption over on the mothership.

That doesn't sound like much of a reward—they're going to get smoked in the ratings—but they're definitely viable and different-minded alternatives for viewers.

[ESPN]