Love him or hate him, if you are interested in American politics there is a good chance you have run across Sean Hannity a time or two before.
The outspoken conservative Fox News talk show host will pass his 1,000th episode at the network today. He averages nearly 2 million nightly viewers and is the top cable news performer at 9 p.m., as well as one of the biggest conservative media voices. Who would have guessed that when he started with the network in 1996 co-hosting an hour-long program with liberal Alan Colmes.
Hannity recently discussed his time with Fox News, as well as his feelings about the news media in general.
"When we started on Fox News in 1996, [Newsday critic] Verne Gay wrote that Alan Colmes looks funereal and Sean Hannity has a bad haircut and no business being on television," he remembered. "He's actually a great guy, and we've joked about it since, but at the time I called Neil Cavuto and asked, "Does this mean I'm getting fired?... In all honesty, I did have a bad haircut and I had no business being on television. I was awful. I've said to Roger [Ailes] many times, "Why didn't you fire me in the first six months? I was god awful." He said nobody was really watching then. The timing for me to grow was perfect. Today, there would have been articles written about how I did that first night. It's much more competitive."
Compared to where journalism was when he started, Hannity feels like journalism has changed for the worse.
"I think journalism in America is dead as we used to know it, and I think journalism is there to serve people, but the people in my business want to go to parties and the Washington Correspondents Dinner, and I'm proud to say I've never been to one of them. I have more excuses on Washington Correspondents weekend than you can shake a stick at. I never want to go," he added.
While Colmes is not with him any longer on the air, the duo remains close.
"[I see him] almost everyday. Our offices are literally next door to each other. Just this week he said that he's on TV more than he's ever been. We kind of just made the decision that it would probably be best for him to do some other programs first, but he's been on the show. We're good friends," he said.