[Keith Olbermann] first joined CNN in 1981 as a freelance sports reporter, becoming the network's national sports correspondent at age 23. In addition to his daily reporting duties in 1983 and 1984, he anchored a sports report during CNN's late-afternoon newscast. Next came local sportscasting gigs in Boston and Los Angeles, after which Olbermann joined ESPN in 1992 for a careermaking stint as host of "SportsCenter." But when he walked out at the end of his contract in 1997, an ESPN official was quoted as saying, "He didn't burn the bridges here, he napalmed them."
Olbermann switched from sports to news, joining MSNBC as host of his own prime-time current affairs program, "The Big Show." That went sour fast when MSNBC brass told him to ride the Monica Lewinsky story hard. Olbermann then delivered an infamous 1998 speech to graduates of his alma mater, Cornell University, in which he complained that his network was devoting 28 hours a day to the Lewinsky story while he was having "dry heaves" in the bathroom "because my moral sensor is going off."
"We are thrilled to have Keith at CNN," CNN/U.S. Executive Vice President Sid Bedingfield said today. "He has a wealth of expertise and is an excellent storyteller, which made him an obvious choice for 'NewsNight.' "
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