ESPN WAVES BUH-BYE TO BLOWTORCH/BLOWHARD KEITH OLBERMANN

By Peter Gleason

You have to hand it to blowtorch/blowhard Keith Olbermann.

He made his bones on ESPN in the 1990s, then left for greener pastures and burned bridges everywhere he has gone.

Now ESPN has decided that he no longer fits in the Worldwide Leader in 2015.

Olbermann, who returned to ESPN two years ago to host a late-night show on ESPN2 that was eventually shifted to the afternoon, will leave the network this month.

The news was first reported on Twitter by James Andrew Miller, the author of an oral history of ESPN, “Those Guys Have All the Fun.” He had previously reported that ESPN had sought the end of commentaries by Olbermann, a trademark element of the program.

In a statement, ESPN characterized the parting as a business decision.

This year, ESPN chose not to renew the contract of another high-profile personality, Bill Simmons, who was the editor in chief of the website Grantland and a founder and executive producer of the “30 for 30” documentary series.

John Skipper, ESPN’s president, was closely associated with the rise of Simmons and the return of Olbermann.

In its statement, the company said:

“Keith is a tremendous talent who has consistently done timely, entertaining and thought-provoking work since returning to ESPN. While the show’s content was distinctive and extremely high quality, we ultimately made a business decision to move in another direction.”

The viewership of Olbermann’s program this year has been as high as 181,000, in January, and as low as 148,000, in April, according to figures provided by ESPN.

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