Whether a Democrat or a Republican is inaugurated president next year, the conservative commentators Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity will still be in their respective studios, holding forth for the Fox News Channel.
The two men, whose contracts are up after the presidential election this year, are on the verge of renewing their contracts through the 2016 election season, according to people with knowledge of the negotiations. The people insisted on anonymity because the negotiations were confidential.
The renewals would cement in place the two critical pieces of Fox’s programming lineup: the point-of-view talk shows “The O’Reilly Factor” at 8 p.m. and “Hannity” at 9 p.m. As the two most popular programs on the channel, “The O’Reilly Factor” and “Hannity” help to make Fox News a profit center for the News Corporation, the media company controlled by Rupert Murdoch. Fox News is expected to make $1 billion in profit this year.
Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Hannity’s willingness to stay at Fox, and Fox’s willingness to have them stay, came as no surprise to staff members at the channel or at its cable news rivals, some of whom cited the adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” when talking about Fox’s prime-time schedule. ... ... m ...
The “twin pillars of the operation,” Mr. O’Reilly and Mr. Hannity are “proven personalities, proven moneymakers,” said Kerwin Swint, a professor at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, who has written a book about Roger Ailes, the Fox News chairman.
He surmised of Mr. Ailes, “he’s going to try to lock them up as long as he can.”
Fox News is famous for its iconoclastic conservative take on US politics, while rival MSNBC is seen by some experts as becoming its liberal equivalent. But do cable news stations influence election campaigns?
For the best part of a decade Fox News has been the dominant US cable news network.
Its blend of jaunty news during the day, and colourful conservative pundits - like Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck - during the evening has proved a popular formula.
Beck has gained notoriety. His eponymous show on Fox News, where he can weave together targets as diverse as Woodrow Wilson, the Black Panthers and Goebbels in a heady hour-long polemic, is watched by 2.5 million people, despite being hours before primetime. It beats its rivals on the other cable news networks more than 4-1. Fox News is for Americans who have felt for years that the media are dominated by the East Coast liberal elites that make decisions that don't reflect the rest of America”
Fox News's dominance has caused concern for some on the other side of the political divide. ...
For all of Fox News's alleged partisanship, there are some analysts who feel MSNBC is going the same way - turning into a liberal version of Fox News.
"It's definitely there," says Prof Kerwin Swint, author of Dark Genius: The Influential Career of Legendary Political Operative and Fox News Founder, Roger Ailes.
"You can see their progression of following the lead of Fox News."