The Big Show returns

NBC announced today that former ESPN “SportsCenter” anchor Dan Patrick will join its weekly “Football Night in America” program this fall. More importantly, it means Patrick will reunite with former “SportsCenter” partner Keith Olbermann in primetime.

Patrick and Olbermann formed the greatest tandem in sports television history (yes, even surpassing Pat Summerall and John Madden) in the early-to-mid 1990s when they anchored the ESPN’s just-after-primetime “SportsCenter.” They were brash and charismatic and en fuego. They were must-see TV for us former “twentysomethings” whose nights didn’t start until 10 p.m. (Of course as thirtysomethings, our nights end around 10 p.m.)

“I’m delighted to be reunited with my tag team partner,” Olbermann said in a statement. “I can’t stop Dan Patrick from working with me again, I can only hope to contain him.”

The tandem even co-wrote a book together called “The Big Show” about their lives at ESPN, which both left for different reasons. Olbermann’s brushes with ESPN hierarchy were legendary before he left the network. He now hosts his own political commentary show on MSNBC. Patrick quit ESPN in 2007 and hosts his own radio show.

Patrick and Olbermann will join host Bob Costas, former NFL players Cris Collingsworth, Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber and Sports Illustrated reporter Peter King for the 75-minute show and halftime highlights of that night’s game.

“I think it’s a great idea because it reunites one of the great combinations ever in TV sports,” NBC sportscaster Bob Costas said in a statement. “I’ve been in favor of the idea ever since NBC Sports reacquired the NFL but we haven’t been able to work it out until now.”

Unfortunately, many fans will have to choose between the final quarter of a late-afternoon NFL game and the reunited Big Show, which begins at 6 p.m. Unless it’s a good game, pick Olbermann and Patrick.


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