The top-rated Fox News host, Sean Hannity, wants the former top-rated host, Bill O’Reilly, to return to the network and reclaim his top spot.
Hannity interviewed O’Reilly, who left the network over two years ago amidst a slew of misconduct allegations, all of which O’Reilly denies, on his radio show and urged his old colleague to make a comeback on Fox News.
Hannity’s recommendation to O’Reilly came when the two were in the midst of discussing the “punishment” President Donald Trump has faced since being elected to office.
“I have never seen a human being able to absorb more punishment than Donald Trump,” O’Reilly said.
“So true, it’s unbelievable,” Hannity agreed.
“You and I, we can identify because we’ve been attacked for more than 20 years, each of us has,” O’Reilly said.
“Twenty four to be exact. By the way,” Hannity said, “I keep offering you, go back on Fox, and —”
“Yeah and why do I want to do that?” O’Reilly said, cutting Hannity off. “So I can have security guards go with me everywhere like I used to?”
“No, so that you take the number one slot,” Hannity replied. “I can tell you it’s easier being number two because we’ll end the — we’ll end the year again number one in all of cable, and with that comes all the crap associated with it.”
“You bet,” O’Reilly agreed, “but your listeners should understand there is a price to pay for being a traditional conservative American in this country.”
Listen to a portion of Hannity and O’Reilly’s conversation below:
Since leaving Fox News, O’Reilly has continued to be a political commentator and he even published a book this year titled, “The United States of Trump: How the President Really Sees America.” He hosts the “No Spin News” podcast and releases daily commentaries called “The O’Reilly Update.”
Amid his allegations of sexual misconduct, O’Reilly’s numbers actually began ticking up on Fox. The show saw multiple week-to-week jumps in viewer numbers and was regularly bringing in nearly four million nightly viewers. The New York Times reported that the Fox News host had paid over $30 million to settle misconduct complaints against him.
Hannity last discussed O’Reilly returning to Fox News over the summer when he chatted with fellow host Laura Ingraham during a handover segment. Hannity recalled then trying to convince O’Reilly to return.
“I said, ‘Why don’t you come back to cable? I’ll let you be number one again because then I’ll take a lot less crap,’” Hannity recalled saying to O’Reilly. Hannity said being number one comes with negative backlash that he wants to avoid in the future.
Even without O’Reilly, Fox News remains the most-watch cable news network, with their lineup led by Hannity. With “Hannity,” “The Ingraham Angle,” “The Five,” and “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Fox News sports four of the five highest rated cable news programs currently airing. Each of those shows brings in around three million viewers.
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