Bloomberg profiled Sean Hannity for a story that was published earlier this morning. The story details Hannity’s rise from college dropout to becoming the de-facto face of Fox News in light of Bill O’Reilly‘s departure from the network.
Amid all of the conflict and controversy swirling around Fox News in recent months, Hannity has seemingly come out on top, the story states. His radio show is now the second most popular in America behind Rush Limbaugh‘s. His 10 p.m. Fox News program has posted significant year-over-year ratings growth, and consistently out-performs its 10 p.m. cable news rivals. But ratings don’t tell the entire story.
He bet early on Donald Trump’s campaign for president and defended him at his worst moments; and now, President Trump himself is an avid fan who sometimes seems to act after getting ideas from the broadcast.
In addition to becoming something of a peripheral adviser to America’s commander-in-chief, Hannity has become Fox News’s commander-in-chief.
O’Reilly’s abrupt departure followed those of two other Fox News stars, Megyn Kelly and Greta Van Susteren, who had their own internecine reasons for leaving. Hannity has outlasted them all, meaning the longtime vice pundit of cable news is now effectively its commander-in-chief. Fox News is betting that fresh-faced, neo-preppy provocateur Tucker Carlson, who took over O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. hour on April 24, will be a key part of the network’s future. But at a time when the company badly needs someone to steady the organization, Hannity, with his mind-meld connection to the White House and his deep, abiding connection to the Fox News brand, is the alpha anchor right now. “Hannity’s experiencing a renaissance,” says Brian Rosenwald, a media historian at the University of Pennsylvania. “It’s his network now.”