comScore EXCLUSIVE: New Conservative Network Now Actively Trying to Lure Sean Hannity | Mediaite

EXCLUSIVE: New Conservative Network Now Actively Trying to Lure Sean Hannity

hannityLate last week, we broke the story that there could soon be another game in town for conservative news viewers looking for a competitor to Fox News.

As we reported Friday:

“A well-placed source close to the proposal tells Mediaite that serious discussions are underway to create an alternative conservative cable network on the belief that the Fox News Network is moving too far to the left. The source, who is engaged in the talks, says a meeting is planned for today with two prominent high-powered television executives, some underperforming conservative networks and people who have an interest and the ability to fund a new network.”

Since we first published that story, a senior TV executive involved in those discussions not only confirmed our story, but told us that it could come to fruition within a year:

“I’m working on it (the new conservative channel) hot and heavy. . . It’s live, it’s real.” We are told by two sources involved, that the meeting Friday led to even more confidence that the network will soon become a reality.

Now, with the announcement that Fox news co-President Bill Shine is “resigning” from Fox News, there is a newfound focus on Fox talent and in particular, Sean Hannity, the last remaining original star from the Fox News lineup.

That same TV executive involved in trying to create the new network told us:

“I just don’t see Fox News and Sean having a long relationship. If Sean becomes available, you have 100 percent turnover in primetime and a huge opportunity,”

The departure of Bill Shine could become that opportunity. Mediaite has learned that Hannity has what is called a “key man clause” in his contract. That means that his entire contract can be torn up if a particular person, the key man, leaves the company. In this case that person is Roger Ailes, who obviously left Fox last year. Mediaite has also learned that while Hannity’s current contract is up in December of 2020, he must only provide 60 days notice if he intends to execute on that “key man” provision. At that point, he would be free to pursue other opportunities.

Thus far, Hannity has not chosen to execute on that clause but that is where Bill Shine comes back in. Shine and Hannity go way back together to the time when Shine was Hannity’s executive producer. And based on Hannity’s recent comments on Twitter both before and after Shine’s resignation, it is clear that Fox has every reason to be concerned:

On top of that, Mediaite has learned that Bill O’Reilly‘s $25 million exit package did not include a non compete clause, so he is likely free to work for a competitor. A new conservative network, new leadership at Fox and an “out” for Hannity could mean that Fox soon has a completely new prime-time line up and a serious competitor to deal with.

This article has been updated. 

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