Patrick-Olbermann, the NBC version

Did anyone notice that Showtime yesterday announced its lineup for the network's new version of Inside the NFL?

It wasn't the best day to do so, because NBC has reunited Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann for its Football Night in America NFL Sunday night highlights/pre-game show. This, of course, is cause for much celebration. And here's Patrick's best line about it: "I will be doing the highlights for the red states and Keith will be doing the highlights for the blue states."


This can't be a full return of "The Big Show" from the halcyon days of their pairing on SportsCenter, but we'll take it. However, we can only expect so much of that bantering and on-air chemistry. After all, NBC's show still will be overseen by Bob Costas, and Cris Collinsworth and the analyst crew still need room to analyze.

But if it were me, I'd turn the whole show over to Patrick and Olbermann.


Meanwhile, Showtime has put together a team of James Brown, Phil Simms and Collinsworth for the CBS-NFL Films production of Inside the NFL. Each is among TV's best in his own right, but we'll have to see how they mesh. Having Brown is a big plus in that regard, because few hosts set up his colleagues as well.

You want to hear more about the Patrick-to-NBC move? Here are highlights of the Monday conference call as provided by NBC:

OLBERMANN ON WORKING WITH PATRICK: "The key ingredient we had working together was whatever you thought we were doing out there, the actual intent of the program was an attempt by him to crack me up or by me to crack him up. As long as we kept that undercurrent going, we knew it would be fairly entertaining for the audience."

PATRICK ON THE FOOTBALL NIGHT TEAM: "I wanted to work for Dick Ebersol; I wanted to work with Bob Costas; and then you combine that with working with Keith; I've got Collinsworth who is the best analyst in the business, so I was walking into a table that was already set. We'll have fun but we'll have fun because I know all of these people. I covered Collinsworth when he was a rookie for the Bengals."

OLBERMANN ON WORKING AGAIN WITH PATRICK: "I know he still gets this and I still get this, people say all the time that 'we wish we could see you guys working together.' As good as he is and as good as I am as opposed to as good as I think I am, when we work together, we're as good as any five people in the business, I think. That's the magic that is clearly not going to be created in any way, shape or form, it just happens. I feel very fortunate that Dan chose to do this and that Dick and Bob and everybody else signed off on it. It's very fortunate to get a second chance to make the proverbial first impression."

EBERSOL ON ADDING PATRICK: "This is one of the more pleasurable announcements that I've been able to make these last 19 years.

"Last year, we added one person and the show was a hell of a lot better than it was the first year. This year we're adding another and I suspect it will get even that much better."

PATRICK ON HIS HIATUS FROM TV: "I watch with a critical eye but I also watch with great admiration for those who can do it and do it well. So I didn't sit there and go 'I can do that better.' I had a harder time watching SportsCenter, I'll grant you that. You do that for so long, you do it for 18 years, and then it's kind of hard to watch. It's sort of like Brett Favre having to watch Aaron Rodgers with the Packers. Maybe that's what it is, I don't know. It's something along those lines."

PATRICK ON ORIGIN OF HIS MOVE TO NBC: "In talking to Bob Costas, Bob brought it up sort of off-the-cuff, and I said I'd love to approach Dick Ebersol about it, and he said 'Oh, I'll do that,' and then he did. I talked to Keith a couple times on and off and it happened pretty quickly. So here I am, ready to do some football with Keith and certainly with Bob and having Bob signing off on it was very important because I trusted his judgment being able to sort of handle this and be the conductor in there. I look forward to it. It brings me back certainly working with Keith. I've never had a better partner to work with and it should be fun."

EBERSOL ON PATRICK'S ROLE OUTSIDE FOOTBALL: "Dan's field is football and the Super Bowl in the years we have the Super Bowl. He also will be involved with us in the Olympics starting in Vancouver. We have not talked about doing anything beyond that principally because he's got a five day a week, three hour program and he has four children, and he'd like to be home on alternate Saturdays, so at this point we have not talked about anything more largely due to his family desires."

PATRICK: "I like the two-man luge; Keith and I have done that before."
OLBERMANN: "You haven't seen Matt Lauer and Al Roker together on a luge? It's quite a site."
PATRICK: "I was hoping for Meredith Viera, but if Al Roker's available, I'll take him."

PATRICK: "It had nothing to do with Keith burning bridges because Keith was still working with ESPN radio."
OLBERMANN: "I was still working with ESPN Radio after Dan left. I'm in fact the 'good one.'"
PATRICK: "It took 18 years, but Keith is the good one. He's the good son."

COSTAS ON OLBERMANN AND PATRICK: "I think it's a great idea because it reunites one of the great combinations ever in TV sports. 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."

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