Keith Olbermann is a nightmare to deal with. He's reportedly been a toxic presence in almost every one of the shops in which he's worked, his arrogance, tendency toward self-indulgence and general neuroses always making like a living hell for both his superiors and his peers. That said, Olbermann is a balls-out brilliant broadcaster. Seriously, he's one of the best in the business and no matter how many times he may get fired or end up in the headlines for being a relentless prick to one person or another, that makes him valuable. NBC, specifically MSNBC, knows this -- and that's why it looks as if NBC News President Andy Lack will be getting together with Olbermann to discuss a possible return to the MSNBC airwaves.
According to Joe Concha over at Mediaite, who posted an exclusive report just a little while ago, a meeting as been set between Lack and Olbermann to talk about potentially bringing the latter back to MS in his old 8PM time-slot. This of course would mean either the cancellation or, more likely, the relocation of All In With Chris Hayes, which should surprise absolutely no one considering that Hayes, while an incredibly smart and dedicated guy, just can't pull in the kind of numbers NBC needs to justify keeping him atop primetime's most valuable real estate. Hayes's ratings are awful, which when you think about it puts him in line with the entire MSNBC schedule right now. But Lack can't have that and he's already made several big changes to MS's on-air lineup and it's assured that more are coming.
Concha makes the necessary point that with the election season revving up, now would be the perfect time to inject someone of Olbermann's wit, intelligence and track-record for drawing eyeballs -- he was at the helm of MSNBC's most successful run, during the 2008 presidential election -- back into the mix. Olbermann absolutely torched his bridges at MSNBC when he was let go back in 2011, but his recent exit from ESPN wasn't quite as tumultuous as his previous departures, so maybe there's a chance he's finally learning to keep his mouth shut. If so, that'll be all the reassurance someone like Lack will need to try to recapture the old Olbermann magic. Will it work? Who knows -- but MSNBC doesn't have many other choices. It has to do something to shore up its numbers and Olbermann is its best bet.