Keith Olbermann is back.Olbermann’s return to television began on Monday night with the premiere of his new show “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” on Current TV.
The verdict? Not so ‘new.’
For a number of critics, the similarities between Monday’s show and Olbermann’s previous MSNBC production were apparent.
There were also technical glitches, an angry rant by Markos Moulitsas, and Olbermann’s temperament that caught the attention of critics.
Here’s a look at the reactions to Monday’s show:
- The Daily Beast’s Lloyd Grove: “Although nowhere near as graphically sophisticated as the MSNBC version, there’s a lot that’s familiar here… Countdown’s inaugural instalment was marred by the creepily oleaginous performance of a third contributor, Markos Moulitsas…”
- Washington Post’s Hank Stuever: “‘Countdown’ has transported itself from MSNBC to Current without major incident or much innovation…something seemed sleepy about the show; maybe part of that has to do with the fact that it’s not 2007 anymore.”
- Salon.com’s Matt Zoller Seitz: “I wouldn’t quite call it amateur hour, but it wasn’t smooth, either. But again, so what? These are production issues that will fix themselves in time…And he was very, very good.”
- L.A. Times’ Mary McNamara: “He is the same fast-talking, hard-charging, unapologetically self-righteous defender of his version of liberal ideology that he always was. Only this time he has a platform with no commercial constraints…So what is the new “Countdown” like? Olbermann Unleashed.”
- Entertainment Weekly’s Ken Tucker: “an hour loaded with obviousness and an unfortunate amount of fawning on the part of his guests…what followed was a rather slack version of Countdown, lacking the vigor that usually accompanies Olbermann’s vinegar.”
- The Cable Gamer: “…this version of ‘Countdown’ was decidedly inferior to the old ‘Countdown’ on MSNBC.”
- New York Times’ Alessandra Stanley: “…returned to cable television on Monday mad as hell and pointedly madder than other self-described liberal anchors on his former channel, MSNBC.”
- Gawker’s Matt Cherette: “It’s pretty much the same exact show: The new network is basically the only difference between this incarnation of Countdown and the last one.”
- Baltimore Sun’s David Zurawik: “Strong production values, reasonable discussions and no ugly over-the-top slanderous attacks on anyone…Olbermann, who behaved like a professional broadcaster most of the night, teed it up for contributor Markos Moulitsas…And all bets on a new and improved, socially responsible show were off.
- TIME’s James Poniewozik: “If you were wondering whether Olbermann might take the five months off to rethink and rejuvenate the format that he had followed for eight years at MSNBC, Olbermann apparently decided it was doing just fine, thank you.”
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