In a development that should surprise no one, Deadline‘s Nellie Andreeva is reporting that the mega-successful Fox News broadcasters Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly are finalizing new “multi-year, multi-million dollar” deals.
Hannity and O’Reilly, who appear on Fox News at 9 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET, respectively, have consistently trounced all cable news competition for years. Last night, for instance, O’Reilly beat all four other cable news nets combined in both total viewers and viewers aged 25-54. Hannity nearly pulled off the same feat.
While O’Reilly and Hannity are routinely derided by liberal commentators and viewers alike, they have largely avoided major scandals like the one that befell Rush Limbaugh last month, when he called birth control activist Sandra Fluke a “slut.” Both also stick to fairly typical conservative treatments of the major political issues of the day, which keeps them from suffering the same fate as the more abstract, rambling libertarian Glenn Beck, who (forcibly?) left Fox News last year and now successfully runs broadcasts online at GBTV.com.
We here at Critic Speak think that it would behoove Fox to cease negotiations with O’Reilly and Hannity and opt instead for a two-hour block of Red Eye, hosted by the brilliant Greg Gutfeld, however enormous the ensuing ratings-plunge might be. Given it’s unlikely that they’d shed the million-plus viewers that would cause them to lose to the likes of CNN and MSNBC, how much could a primetime Red Eye really hurt them?