Sean Hannity to become solo act at Fox News

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - After weeks trying to find a suitable replacement for the departing Alan Colmes, Sean Hannity will go it alone.

Hannity on January 12 will debut “Hannity,” a retooled version of the second highest-rated program in cable news (after Fox News Channel’s own “The O’Reilly Factor”). It will be the first time since signing on in 1996 that Fox News Channel has changed its 9 p.m. program in any way, the network said.

Fox News said that a program centered around Hannity was better than trying to find a replacement for Colmes.

“In the end, we couldn’t replace Alan and the chemistry those two had, the friendship they had,” said Bill Shine, senior vp programing at Fox News Channel. At the same time, Fox News wanted to showcase Hannity.

But it’s not going to just be Hannity. Shine said that the idea is to have, along with Hannity, something called “the Great American Panel,” including one conservative, one liberal and someone else the show calls “an X factor.” That panel will talk about issues in several segments per night. The “X factor” could include a comedian, a former politician or even someone like “Joe the Plumber.”

“It’s a work in progress,” Shine said.

The show will also have commentary, interviews and other features including “Hate Hannity Hotline,” carried over from his radio show.

Hannity recently signed a four-year deal to stay with the Fox News Channel, his home since 1996. He also is the host of radio’s “The Sean Hannity Show,” syndicated to 500 stations.

Hannity also hosts “Hannity’s America,” a weekend show on the Fox News Channel. Shine said that it isn’t clear what would happen to that show, since some elements may be transported into the new show.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun and it’s coming at exactly the right time,” Shine said of “Hannity.”

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter