MSNBC Chairman Andrew Lack is scheduled to meet with former network star Keith Olbermann.
The meeting is almost surely about a return to the primetime 8 p.m. time slot currently inhabited by “All In” with Chris Hayes, according to Mediaite.
Since abruptly departing the network in 2011, Olbermann had shows flame out at both Current TV and ESPN.
He’s been a free agent since his contract wasn’t renewed with ESPN in July. His return to MSNBC would signal the network isn’t completely jumping ship from renegade liberal bluster–the brand Olbermann sported and helped lift MSNBC to record ratings with.
Olbermann became a big star at the network by raging against the Bush administration during the Iraq War. “Countdown” frequently featured 10-15 minutes diatribes against Bush and other Republican leaders.
Since his departure, MSNBC hasn’t been able to recapture his ratings gold at 8 p.m. ET; Lawrence O’Donnell, Ed Schultz and Chris Hayes have all lagged behind, with Hayes’ two-and-a-half year tenure marking the lowest post-Olbermann ratings in the time slot.
An Olbermann return in the new, harder-news version of MSNBC might feature less bomb throwing and more reporting from the firebrand, but without any current suitors–and if the money is right–Olbermann has little leverage to say no if he wants another media comeback.
As TheWrap reported, since changing its daytime lineup to a harder news version in March, MSNBC has seen a ratings boost in viewers but has lost 25-54 demo viewers.
MSNBC said the reports are “patently untrue.”