Whatever you may think of Fox News, it’s hard to not think about it without Sean Hannity being part of the thought. Hannity has been a cornerstone of their programming, perhaps even more so after they let Bill O’Reilly go last year after allegations of sexual harassment.
Hannity has been with the network for 22 years.
But at least one group is hoping for that to change.
Up-and-coming media giant Sinclair Broadcasting may be working to “poach” Hannity from his well-known position.
Executives at Sinclair, which operates around 200 over-the-air television stations in America, are keen to launch a new network that would compete with Fox for conservative-leaning political news.
While it’s unclear if Hannity has been approached directly, key members of his team are being tempted into jumping ship.
“(Sinclair chairman David Smith) has met in the last few months with the executive producer of Hannity’s top-rated show on Fox, Porter Berry, according to two people familiar with the meeting,” reported Politico.
“Berry is not the only person connected to Hannity who Smith has gone after. The Sinclair boss has also been wooing Sean Compton, a Tribune Media programming executive who is close friends with the Fox host,” the outlet reported.
Hannity’s contract with Fox is believed to be up in 2020.
Sinclair has also reportedly had meetings with Greta Van Susteren and Judge Jeanine Pirro.
Sinclair also spoke with Bill O’Reilly but then decided against bringing him on board.
“Smith has not settled on where his primetime news block will air, but one likely option is WGN America, a cable network which Sinclair would acquire as part of its deal with Tribune, and which reaches 80 million homes,” Politico said.
Fox may be more well known, but both media groups have comparable deep pockets: Sinclair has annual revenue of around $2.7 billion, while Fox News brings in around $2.3 billion a year.
Those big numbers mean that a bidding war for famous talent — including Hannity — might not be out of the question. Which network would end up on top after the dust settles is anyone’s guess.
It could create quite the bidding war for conservative talent since they have the money to really match Fox’s offers and a huge viewer base.
And a real threat to Fox’s hold on the hosts.