Keith Olbermann made a low-profile return in front of the camera this week, posting three videos on his Foknewschannel.com website. The clips are clearly targeting Olbermann’s old MSNBC (s CMCSa) (s ge) TV audience, using common staples of his former show like the “special comment” and the “worst person of the day,” and were immediately were celebrated by fans.
Keith Olbermann abruptly left his job at MSNBC three months ago, and has since signed up with the much smaller Current.tv cable network. Olbermann joined Current as its chief news officer, and he is also going to host a daily news show similar to his show on MSNBC. However, contractual rules prevent Current from launching the show until late spring, and Olbermann made no secret this week that his online videos are meant to tide people over:
Foknewschannel.com, which is billed as an acronym for “friends of Keith,” is an obvious pun at Fox News, but it’s also a stab at MSNBC. Olbermann bills the site as his “official not-for-profit blog,” avoiding any obvious reference to Current.tv, likely to avoid any contractual disputes. Of course, that doesn’t stop Olbermann from telling everyone that there’s going to be more of this on Current.tv soon.
Olbermann isn’t the first celebrity to use online video while absent from the TV screen. Conan O’Brien used YouTube videos and live streams (s goog) to drum up interest in his TBS (s twx) show, and Charlie Sheen recently turned to Ustream as an outlet after being fired from his network sitcom. However, there’s a chance Olbermann fans will see more of him online even after his show on Current.tv starts.
Network co-founder Joel Hyatt told Beet.tv earlier this month that Current intends to bring Olbermann to many different platforms. “We are gonna expand the availability of his insights, of his commentary, of his analysis to every other device, every other platform,” said Hyatt, adding that the goal isn’t to repackage his TV show, but provide additional media for “every device you use.”