While most shows on MSNBC invite on a number of guests at once to give opinions, "Countdown" is more geared towards presenting straight-reporting, some of which previously aired on NBC broadcast US television news.
Olbermann hosts as a centrist, making ironic remarks about both liberals and conservatives.
On each broadcast, the number one story of the night is preceded by a "Keeping Tabs" segment which discusses celebrity gossip and other light matters.
According to Dash Riprock of americanpolitics.com, Olbermann "tells the truth, and he does it in a sharp, subtlety stated, but unmistakable style. It's sad to realize that it is truly such an oddity these days to see someone with those qualities on TV."