Sean Hannity's Big Week

This was Sean Hannity’s week for a victory lap. With Fox News’s new prime time schedule now firmly in place, Hannity had the greatest number of total viewers for his program at 9 P.M. E.T. in the first four nights of the week and won three out of the four nights in the age 25-54 demo. In a week of intense breaking news, Hannity’s programs stood out in the sea of spin and fakery at FNC’s competitor news channels. The Christian-themed, independent feature film that Hannity executive produced, Let There Be Light, opened strong in 300 theaters on October 27 – resulting in its expansion to 700 venues on the next weekend. And for “icing on the cake,” after 16 years in national syndication, Hannity was honored by his peers and inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame on November 2 in Chicago.

Sean Hannity

Hannity has been plugging away in prime time on Fox News since 1996. During much of that time, he won his time slot against the competition on CNN and MSNBC. With the shakeup of FNC’s schedule last spring, and the loss of strong lead ins (Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly), Hannity’s ratings suffered, although he continued to have the first or second highest rated show on Fox News itself. With the weak ensemble talk show The Five in the 9 P.M. slot from May 1 to September 22, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow took the lead in that hour and her show temporarily became #1 in all of cable news. After moving to 9 P.M. on September 25 and going head to head with Maddow, Hannity reestablished FNC’s preeminence in that time period on most nights and Maddow is no longer #1.

On Monday October 30, the Fox News channel completed its transition to a new evening schedule (8 P.M. to 12 Midnight M-F). The correct and accurate details of that schedule change were first reported exclusively in an article that I wrote for American Thinker on August 16. On October 30 Laura Ingraham finally premiered her new M-F 10 P.M. program, The Ingraham Angle, joining Hannity at 9 P.M. and Tucker Carlson who remained at 8 P.M. Also premiering last Monday was Shannon Bream’s new live 11 P.M. news show.

Anyone who might have wondered why Hannity unbound is doing so well at 9 P.M. need only have watched his – and Fox News’s other prime time – programs this past week. Fox News’s new evening schedule is potentially the strongest one in the 21 year-long history of the channel. The three prime time hosts – Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, and Laura Ingraham – are all experienced and articulate conservatives. Unlike the prime-time hosts on the other two news channels, these three FNC hosts regularly give air time to the other side of the political divide, in this case Democrats and progressives, and engage in fair and respectful debate. Meanwhile, FNC’s competitors, CNN and MSNBC, continue to report with consistent unfairness and lack of objectivity on the Trump Administration and conservatives in general. CNN and MSNBC have become, in effect, little more than dedicated propaganda mouthpieces for the anti-Trump, Shadow Government, Deep State “Resistance.”

The big news that had most of the MSM in a 24/7 frenzy through midday on Tuesday involved the first two indictments and the arrests of one-time Trump associates Paul Manafort and Rick Gates by special counsel Robert Mueller in the investigation of the Trump Administration for alleged collusion with the Russians. On Tuesday shortly after 3 P.M., the latest Islamist terrorist attack, entailing the use of a rental truck as a weapon to mow down several dozen bicyclists and pedestrians in New York City, that took eight lives was catapulted to the lead. That event and its immediate aftermath lasted for several news cycles and eclipsed coverage of almost everything else including Mueller’s investigations on all three cable news channels.

These two stories – Mueller’s machinations and the NYC terrorist attack – highlighted the value of Fox News in the context of the new, Resistance-dominated, fake news media landscape. Fox News in prime time, as well as most of the channel’s programming during the rest of the day, reflected sober and balanced reporting and analysis of the fast unfolding events. Meanwhile, regarding the Mueller indictments, and the guilty plea announced on Monday of former Trump volunteer advisor George Papadopoulos, the hosts and most of the guests on CNN and MSNBC, like the rest of the MSM, were salivating at what they perceived as the advancement toward the removal from office of President Trump. Only FNC continued to present more traditional, fair and balanced, reporting.

Laura Ingraham

For her part, veteran talk show host Laura Ingraham had one of the strongest premiere weeks imaginable. On Monday, her guest was White House Chief of Staff Gen. John Kelly, who rarely appears on TV. On Wednesday, she did two in-studio interview segments with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who rarely gives interviews. On Thursday, Ingraham interviewed President Trump in the White House on the eve of his departure on a 12-day trip to Asia. All of these interviews made news. including in the MSM.

On Thursday in Chicago, at a black-tie optional dinner at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, Hannity was inducted into the 29th annual National Radio Hall of Fame along with seven other radio personalities. A 25-member committee nominated 24 individuals and 300,000 members of the public voted to choose the winners. Hannity, who has not made a big deal out of his award, was contacted by TVNewser and offered this comment:

From day one that radio light would go on every day and I just let it all go – and I love it. Now almost 30 years later, I have the same experience and feel blessed beyond measure that I am able to do this every day. The Radio Hall of Fame is just icing on the cake.

Sean Hannity in his office 2011

Hannity is considered the second highest rated radio talk show host in the country with 13 million listeners a week. He was unable to attend the Chicago event due to the need to cover the breaking news on his programs this week.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran reporter and analyst of news on national politics, media, and popular culture. Follow Peter on Twitter @pchowka

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