Monday, June 27, 2011
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
All Olbermann, All the Time
“If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Heard that before? I heard it often growing up. I think that maxim might be useful nowadays in an era if incivility.
That being said, I have to weigh-in on the new incarnation of “Countdown” with Keith Olbermann on Current TV.
I admit to having been a regular viewer when Olbermann was the “face” of MSNBC’s prime time. His concepts of competing with the likes of CNN and Fox were intriguing. Further, he could draw on the vast resources of NBC as well as his own visions then.
I realized last night watching the debut of his new show, those resources and the technical toys and expertise at his new gig may be the difference between then (five months or so ago when he was on MSNBC) and now.
His former colleagues at MSNBC have a long list of credible contributors—Pulizer Prize winners—who can expatiate on the vagaries of politics inside the “Beltway”. Olbermann is just now creating his contributors. His first pundit was film-maker Michael Moore. Now, Moore can certainly hold his own on many subjects, but I don’t think he is credible on all.
Olbermann took pains to point out that Moore and his other guests were “Countdown contributors”. I don’t know if that means these guests are exclusive to Olbermann’s show, but he made a big deal out of saying it time and again. Time and again, his guests also gushed about how great it was to have Olbermann back. The program ran long because the gratuitous comments kept coming. Olbermann should have said, “Thank you” and ended it, but he let it continue, because he can.
Olbermann was Olbermann. “Olbermann picked up right where he left off when he and MSNBC abruptly parted ways five months ago,” writes Hank Steuver for the Washington Post. The problem seemed to be that Current TV and its production crew couldn’t keep up with him. There were production glitches throughout the broadcast.
Wrong video ran—video that didn’t match the words spoken. Graphics looked like there were created in the 1990s. I watched the replay at 10 p.m. (Central). I don’t know if it was Current TV or if it was Time Warner, but the volume levels kept going up and down. It was maddening. Yes, it’s a new show, and production problems happen, but one would think at the “big leagues” level, they would have sorted out these issues before the premier telecast.
The replay is another issue. It seems that the “Countdown” of the day is going to repeat every two hours until the next day, just in case you missed it or want to see it again. Geez. That’s a lot of Keith Olbermann. Between the “Countdown” casts are documentaries. I don’t think Current TV has much else going on. Moreover, I don’t think “Countdown” can carry the day for Current all by himself.
Clearly, Current TV and its owner, Al Gore, believe that Keith Olbermann’s “Countdown” will draw a crowd. It’s going to take more content than just Keith to make that happen.
© Jim McNabb, 2011