Life in the Slow Lane

July 8, 2008

Bad idea to revisit past with Patrick, Olbermann?

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 10:20 am
WHile Keith Olbermann, left, and Dan Patrick are great, their schtick on NBC this fall may be as worn out as Olbermann\'s mustache in this photo from their 1990s heyday.
While Keith Olbermann, left, and Dan Patrick are great, their schtick on NBC this fall may be as worn out as Olbermann’s mustache in this 1990s photo.

NBC announced Monday that Dan Patrick will be teamed with Keith Olbermann during the network’s Sunday night football games this season.

The two, of course, were a seminal duo in the development of ESPN in the 1990s. They were among the first “SportsCenter” anchors to incorporate nicknames and pop culture references into their work and pretty much are responsible for creating the current generation of incessantly loud sports talking heads.

They were great in their day. I can’t tell you how many Sunday nights I spent up late during my grade school days to watch them deliver highlights on the 11 p.m. show.

But that was 1992-97. Now, more than a decade later, the act may be old. Their schtick was getting tired when Ray Romano did his “SportsCenter” spoof on “Saturday Night Live” in 1999 (the transcript is here; YouTube pulled the video). Sports news has evolved a lot since then, and we don’t need to revisit the past.

Both men are excellent at their jobs. Let’s hope they just bring something new to the table.

•••

This announcement was released Monday by NBC.

Dan Patrick has been named a co-host of NBC’s “Football Night in America” studio show, reuniting him with Keith Olbermann who together redefined sports highlights during their time together on ESPN’s SportsCenter from 1992-97. Patrick, who will handle highlight duties with Olbermann, joins host Bob Costas and co-hosts Cris Collinsworth and Olbermann, along with analysts Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber and reporter Peter King. The announcement was made today by Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics.

“We are proud to reunite one of the greatest teams in the history of sports broadcasting,” Ebersol said. “Dan and Keith were more than successful together, they defined the way that sports highlights are now delivered. Their unique delivery has been sorely missed and now they’ll be able to take their act to a primetime network television audience each Sunday night in the fall.”

Olbermann said: “I’m delighted to be reunited with my tag team partner. I can’t stop Dan Patrick from working with me again, I can only hope to contain him.”

Olbermann and Patrick, while anchoring SportsCenter, became renowned for their inimitable style of coupling pop culture and sports – now a hallmark of the modern television sports reporter. While at ESPN, Olbermann and Patrick also wrote the critically acclaimed book “The Big Show” about their experiences working on SportsCenter. Costas wrote the foreword to the best-selling book.

“I think it’s a great idea because it reunites one of the great combinations ever in TV sports,” said Costas. “I’ve been in favor of the idea ever since NBC Sports reacquired the NFL but we haven’t been able to work it out until now.”

Patrick is currently a columnist at Sports Illustrated and contributes to SI.com. In October of 2007, Patrick began hosting a new version of The Dan Patrick Show, distributed nationally through The Content Factory and Premiere Radio Networks. The show airs from 9 a.m. to Noon ET and on XM-144 from 10 a.m. to Noon ET.

Patrick was an anchor on ESPN’s SportsCenter from 1989 to 2006. While at ESPN, he also reported from major events including the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and Final Four. He hosted The Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio from 1999 to August of 2007 and wrote for ESPN The Magazine’s most popular page featuring interviews with athletes. In 2000, Patrick released a book entitled “Outtakes,” based on the magazine column. Prior to working with ESPN, Patrick was a sports anchor and reporter for CNN from 1983 to 1989.

In 1998, he received a Sports Emmy Award in the Studio Host category. In 2000, Patrick was named the National Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, making him just the second cable commentator to receive the honor. He received a CableACE Award in 1997 for his work on SportsCenter.

Patrick received a B.A. in broadcasting from the University of Dayton.

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