While Newsmax TV is reportedly going after former Fox hosts Bill O’Reilly, Greta Van Susteren and Eric Bolling, Sinclair Broadcasting is reportedly making a play for Sean Hannity's producer and a close Hannity friend at Tribune Media.
As [Sinclair's] executive chairman David Smith prepares to launch a competitor to Fox News, he 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.
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.
According to Politico, Smith has also met with Greta Van Susteren (also reportedly sought by Newsmax) and Jeanine Pirro.
Color me skeptical that Hannity would leave Fox for another network yet to prove it has the reach and power of the Fox platform. Especially since Hannity has a fiefdom at Fox. On the other hand, you may recall how angry he was at the ouster of Bill Shine last year. Maybe the vengeful satisfaction of sticking it to Fox by helping to launch a rival would be irresistible to him. Especially if some of his good buddies are already there. But I doubt that would outweigh his desire for a big audience already in place.
I do wonder whether the conservative viewership is large enough for three competing networks. One reason, if not the reason Fox News does so well is because it draws conservative viewers while moderates and liberals split between the other networks. What happens when the conservative-viewer pie gets chopped up? We’ll have to wait and see.
Crossposted at News Hounds.