CBS Evening News Considered Keith Olbermann for Anchor Slot

A profile of MSNBC host Keith Olbermann by Peter J. Boyer in the current edition of the New Yorker gives us a good clue as to why the man known for his laughable impressions of Edward R. Murrow is so antagonistic towards CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric. She beat him out of a job as anchor at CBS. Yes, you read that right. In fact I had to read it twice in amazement when the article, "One Angry Man," stated that the CBS execs actually considered Olbermann for the anchor position (emphasis mine):

After Rather’s unhappy departure from CBS, the network’s president, Leslie Moonves, said that he wanted to blow up the “Evening News”—by which he meant, he later explained, that he wanted to do away with the program’s outmoded “broadcast of record” posture, and its accompanying burden of summarizing the world in twenty-two minutes each night. Moonves and Andrew Heyward, then the president of CBS News, held a secret meeting with Olbermann at his apartment, and asked how he would approach the “Evening News” job. Olbermann, who was nearing the end of his contract at MSNBC, said he thought that it was a waste for networks to spend so much money on their anchors, when they shared so much airtime with field correspondents. Olbermann said that he would, of course, be less freewheeling than he had been at “Countdown,” and that he would redirect the broadcast incrementally, beginning with a three-minute block at the end of each newscast to which he would apply his personal touch. “Maybe in a year’s time, after you’ve given me those three minutes to sort of reprogram, maybe I’ll get four or five,” Olbermann says now. “You don’t go in for the full revolution. You do not come on and do ‘Naked News.’ ”

The meeting ended, and Heyward was not convinced that Olbermann was the right choice for an institution where even the use of music in a news report, let alone voice impersonations by the anchor, is strictly forbidden. But soon afterward Heyward was replaced as news-division president by the head of CBS Sports, Sean McManus, who agreed to a second meeting with Olbermann, at CBS News headquarters on West Fifty-seventh Street. In the end, CBS hired Katie Couric—a decision, Olbermann likes to point out, that has not worked as well as had been hoped. (Couric consistently comes in third in the network ratings.)

Olbermann, licking his wounds over not getting hired for the coveted anchor position, then took a potshot at the current network anchors which would include NBC's own Brian Williams:

Olbermann himself thinks that he could succeed in the traditional nightly network-news slot. “I think it would not do any worse than the three that are out there now,” he says. “It would not get more than double the amount of protest that any of the shows have now.”

If you think Olbermann's distinct lack of humility (or rationality) is just a recent phenomenom, take a look at this incident early in his career:

...When he was twenty-three, he told Bill MacPhail, the former CBS Sports executive who had overseen the introduction of instant replay, that MacPhail didn’t know anything about television sports...

It's pretty obvious that the incredibly narcissistic Olbermann has bias issues to such an extent that leads many to question his sanity but what does that say about CBS News when they actually offered this far left loon the anchor slot? What next? Will CBS News be scouting the lunatic rantings on the Democratic Underground or the Daily Kos for candidates to succeed Katie Couric if, as has been rumored, she departs CBS Evening News after the November election? Oh wait! Olbermann does post his rantings at the Daily Kos so perhaps that would be a good place for CBS to do their personnel search.

UPDATE: It's nice to know that the folks over at the New York Times are NewsBusters readers. Specifically readers of this very article. Stuart Elliot of the New York Times TV Decoder apparently liked the info presented here so much that he used it in the latest edition a few hours after this blog was posted here. Yes, the information originally came from the New Yorker but unlike the other outlets which focused primarily on Olbermann's weird ailment, your humble correspondent pulled out the nugget from the long article about CBS News having considered Olbermann for the anchor slot. In fact, they used almost exactly the same title over there on the TV Decoder article: "CBS Considered Olbermann For ‘Evening News’ Job."

P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick
P.J. Gladnick is a freelance writer and creator of the DUmmie FUnnies blog.