Sinclair Broadcast Group reportedly wants Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity to make shows for its news platform.
O’Reilly is looking for a new outlet after being let go from Fox News Channel earlier this year amid a sexual harassment scandal. Hannity is still at Fox News, but O’Reilly reportedly wants the two of them to team up for a new TV venture.
The rumors come as Sinclair is pursuing a $3.9 billion deal for Tribune Media’s 42 TV stations, which, if approved, would give Sinclair hands-down the largest broadcast television footprint in the U.S. and would rival the reach of major broadcasters including Fox.
As Michael Wolff pointed out, the Tribune deal will give Sinclair a “network-size broadcast presence” and a wider audience for its programming like "Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson." As the once-venerable Fox News suffers through the loss of its major network stars and the ouster of its key executives, its vulnerable state makes it reasonable to picture Sinclair posing a significant challenge in the conservative news market.
For Fox News, losing Hannity would be another in a long series of staff exits. In addition to O’Reilly, the news network has seen the losses of other major stars including Megyn Kelly and executives including founder Roger Ailes, who died earlier this year after his resignation from Fox News.
For Sinclair, luring in O’Reilly and Hannity would give the broadcaster even more programming to distribute among its stations. Existing Sinclair shows include "Full Measure," a weekly new program hosted by Sharyl Attkisson. "Full Measure" is broadcast to 43 million households in 79 markets on 162 Sinclair Broadcast Group stations, including ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, MyTV, Univision and Telemundo affiliates.
This article was updated to remove the word "conservative" describing "Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson."