Keith Olbermann's return to television was a success for ESPN2.
The premiere of the former SportsCenter and MSNBC anchor's new sports talk show, Olbermann, bowed to 319,000 viewers on Monday night. Of those viewers, 147,000 were from the valuable adults 18-49 demographic. The lead-in for Olbermann was the first night session of the U.S. Open, which drew 636,000 viewers and 178,000 among adults 18-49.
While it isn't monster ratings, there are plenty of positives for the critically acclaimed debut episode. Olbermann easily topped ESPN2's viewership average from all of last week (229,000) and beat the last sports talk show to air in the timeslot on the network (a rerun of SportsNation, 138,000 viewers). The 18-49 numbers are also very promising considering how much of the show's lead-in it held in the demographic.
Against 11 p.m. ET competition, however, it couldn't come near SportsCenter. The old stand-by drew 633,000 viewers (demo numbers were unavailable as of this writing). Fox Sports Live, on the other hand, scored just 44,000 viewers from 11 p.m. ET to midnight. However, the show perked up to 99,000 viewers in the midnight hour, suggesting that Olbermann's audience may have some overlap with Jay and Dan and the Fox gang.
Keith's return show can ultimately be deemed a success, considering ESPN President John Skipper said just last week that they'd like the No. 1 competition from SportsCenter to come from inside the company. Well, Olbermann did just that on Monday night.