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What's next for Keith Olbermann? (Politics?)

Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann Credit: AP

Now that the wild man of MSNBC  is on the loose -- of thee we sing, Mr. Keith Olbermann -- what is next for the ranting, righteous host? Options are not limitless, and he has effectively napalmed his way out of three major media companies: Disney, Comcast/NBCU, and Time Warner.  (In fact, when he  napalmed his way out of ESPN, an associate used this exact description...)

That leaves two: News Corp. and Viacom (or its sister company, CBS)? 

I think we can rule out News Corp. (In fact, he napalmed his way out of there, too: When Rupert  Murdoch fired him from Fox Sports way back when, he offered a two-word answer as reason: "He's crazy.")

But what about Viacom/CBS?

Let's start with CBS: The network actually talked about getting Olbermann to host "The Evening News." Talked twice to him, in fact, according to a report a few years ago in The New Yorker. For reasons that are unclear -- perhaps a belated burst of sanity -- CBS pulled back, and ultimately went with Katie Couric.

Viacom . . . well, before we get to this, let's get to the bullets. What could Keith Olbermann do next?

* The Internet: This is the obvious and immediate solution for KO. He's bound to a noncompete that'll keep him off the air until next year, in time for the next election cycle. In the meantime, he could keep up the noise on any number of places -- an exclusive daily Keith Olbermann rant on But I don't see this as a long-term solution. KO's ego is simply too vast to reduce himself or his voice to the rabble of the Web. 

* Satellite radio: Probably the most obvious long-term solution, but you must also ask yourself, could Keith Olbermann and Mel Karmazin co-exist in the same company? They would probably chew each other's legs off before the end of the first week. KO is virtually impossible to supervise -- as a series of bosses will tell happily tell you. Howard Stern has a long relationship with SiriusXM boss Mel, so that's  how they've managed to keep matters peaceful. 

* Comedy Central: This actually occurred to me yesterday, and there is certainly no reason not to muse about it. Why not a midnight, or late night, or post "Daily Show/Colbert Report" show that would incorporate some elements of "Countdown?" It would of course be political, but it would also be funny -- Olbermann is a very funny guy. Of course, he would also be moved occasionally, or frequently, to lapse into  his long-winded jeremiads. Those are not funny, but he is compelled to do them. So this show might not work after all. 

* Finally, politics: I think may -- repeat may (I certainly don't know what's in this guy's head) have appeal. The vectors of his personality, to a certain extent, all lead to a career in politics - sanctimony, self-righteousness, a need to talk and express his views; a passion for intensely liberal policies, an ability to punch and punch hard. Keith has babbled about how the GOP has screwed up royally for years and years and years? Well, put up or shut up, pal. Even Edward R. Murrow -- his personal and professional hero -- went into politics after he was fired by CBS and hired by JFK for his information bureau. That was an ignominious move for Murrrow; why shouldn't KO run for office somewhere instead? Needless to say, he'd have to pick his district carefully. A run for senator from Alabama would not be advised; but there are certain parts of California, or New York, or Mass., that would welcome KO with open and eager arms. 

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