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Here's how anonymity cuts both ways: the good news is, even though I work in the media and spend all day being as scrupulously non-partisan as possible, I can still come here to DK and get my politics out under a nom de net.

But that also means y'all have no particular reason to trust me when I tell you what I'm about to tell you: from what I'm hearing, the next time we see Keith Olbermann on TV, he'll be back alongside Dan Patrick talking about sports.

So take what you're about to read with at least a grain of salt, since I can't tell you how I know what I know.

It will happen (so I'm told) on the channel now known as Versus. It's a sports channel owned by Comcast, and the story I'm hearing is that it will be rebranded as NBC Sportschannel once the takeover is complete, with Keith as its star personality.

If you were watching David Shuster's guest appearance on CNN tonight, you heard him make a key observation: for Keith, it's not about money right now. He has as much money as he'll ever need, so he can do what he wants. And apparently what he really wants is to exact some long-delayed revenge on his bosses at ESPN. (Did you notice the shiv he stuck in their backs yet again in his farewell tonight? Note it carefully. I don't think it was there by accident.)

And now I'll diverge from what I've been told so far tonight and head off into the realm of pure speculation:

I don't think Keith ever intended to become what he became. Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly (or, for that matter, Cenk Uygur or Ed Schultz) seem to understand very clearly that they're paid to deliver the loudest opinions possible at all times, and damn the consequences.

We Keith watchers know that he spends a lot of time thinking about the consequences. Look at the way "Worst Persons" has come and gone and come again and gone again, and that's tame as can be compared with the rancor that takes place on Fox.

Did Keith look to Rachel's show, which has remained blessedly free of so much of the rancor, and realize he'd boxed himself into a corner? Rachel's ratings have been consistently equal to, and sometimes even better than, Countdown's. But if Keith backed down a little, his show wouldn't be Countdown any more.

So what do you do? Do you put up with the new batch of bosses just to keep doing a show that's already accomplished everything you set out to do with it? Or do you kick back, watch some Yankees spring training and hook back up with your old friend Dan Patrick to talk sports?

It may not be the answer we all want to hear, but remember that Keith knows something else now that he didn't know when he started doing Countdown: any time he wants to talk politics, all he has to do is tweet, or diary here, or both.

I'm sure we haven't heard the last of him.

(And as this diary drifts to the bottom of the recent list amidst a sea of KO diaries tonight, I'll at least have it around to dredge up for "told you so!" value if and when the stories I'm hearing come true.)

Update: There's plenty of question floating around down below about whether there's any truth to what I'm hearing. To that, all I can say is that the people I'm hearing it from have a very good track record when it comes to knowing these things. But maybe they're being steered wrong, too, so a large grain of salt is highly recommended just in case.

Since this has floated up the list rather than down, I suppose there's at least a decent chance that Mr. Olbermann himself may happen upon it, in which case let me just say, sir, that I hope you are indeed moving on of your own volition, and that I hope you do so knowing you've made a very real difference in the political lives of many of us who've watched you these last eight years or so.

Thanks for everything you've brought to the airwaves, and I trust we haven't seen or heard the last of your voice. I'll be hoisting a beer or two in your honor at the first ballgame of the season.

And since you didn't get the chance to say it tonight...Mr. Boehner, where are those jobs?

Originally posted to ipsos on Fri Jan 21, 2011 at 08:09 PM PST.

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