Imagine a journalist turning over secret intelligence he’d gotten during interviews to a movement that was at war with the ruling power. It happened, during the American revolution. That newspaper publisher was one of the “secret six” profiled in a new book by Fox News host Brian Kilmeade. And much of the history he writes about happened in his own back yard of Long Island, NY.
TVNewser talked with Kilmeade about his new book, his new “Fox & Friends” co-host and his longtime passion: sports.
TVNewser: You’re known as a politics and sports guy. What made you interested in writing a history book about Washington’s Secret Army?
Kilmeade: I hadn’t seen it really done extensively before. Being from Long Island, I was concerned in the beginning it was too much of a New York story, but the more I researched, the more you look at a map of 13 colonies, you realize. You don’t win the war without New York, you can’t win it straight up, you had to win it through spying and surveillance and espionage. We’ve been looking at this since 1989. The more we started researching the more I realized we didn’t know. Then for two years, we just blitzed it like it was a news story. We tried to get as much information from as many experts as possible.
TVNewser: What can today’s political and media leaders learn from Washington’s secret army?
Kilmeade: Rallying for one cause instead of their own cause. Being selfless, wanting no credit but just wanting to achieve an objective. Not being as concerned about who wins as long as the country wins. And the courage. I think the courage that people display everyday in Afghanistan, display in Iraq, what they’re doing in Somalia, all the covert operations around the world. I think that we can all demonstrate a little bit of that, but being that we’re not fighting for survival, it’s hard to mirror that. It shows you what so-called average everyday people can accomplish. What if I told you there was a bartender, a farmer, a longshoremen, and a grocery store owner, people can relate to average everyday people doing extraordinary things for the patriotic cause.
TVNewser: How has it been working with Elisabeth Hasselbeck? Are there significant differences between hosting with her vs. Gretchen Carlson?
Kilmeade: She’s totally different. It’s like a brand new show, brand new set, we’ve added a lot of things to the format, taking some things out of the format. Gretchen’s doing great at two, having a lot of success in every way. It’s just brand new, a brand new challenge all over again…it’s fun.
TVNewser: Playing Brian the Executive Producer, if you had a segment to fill on “Fox and Friends” with a non-political story, what would it be?
Kilmeade: Personally, I’ve always had a passion for international affairs. When I see things happen with Iran, I’m fascinated what the next step is going to be in Syria, to see the Iranian Embassy blow up in Beirut over Lebanon (which happened last week), and now they’re targets of Al Qaeda, to try to unwind that while Israel tries to stay alive. I’m fascinated by that stuff, but I also know that America is concerned about what’s happening in America first. I wouldn’t change anything about Fox, but in terms of my passion, I put that up there. International affairs before domestic affairs.
TVNewser: Looking at other networks like CNN beefing up their sports programming with Rachel Nichols, do you have any interest in doing more sports at Fox News since that’s your background?
Kilmeade: I always love to do sports. I started with a three-hour sports show on Sunday, that’s what I was hired to do as well as contribute sports on the network. Thankfully I was able to tap into my news background. When the wars start happening, and the attacks took place, and the election mess overwhelmed everything, and Clinton’s dress scandal made sports kind of old news and allowed me to do this stuff. If there was ever a [HBO’s] ‘Real Sports,’ something like that to pop up on Fox News, I’d love to do it, but as much as I love sports, I have not seen a passion for sports on a news channel yet.
TVNewser: How does a Long Island, New York native like you connect with a lot of your viewers in the Midwest and South?
Kilmeade: You’d have to ask them, but I will say this: In doing the book tour, meeting people, traveling the country, covering events, people outside New York like me better than people in New York! For some reason I seem to hit it off with people in the Midwest and South more than New York, even though I have plenty of friends here.