Hannity coming to 'America'
EmptyNEW YORK -- Sean Hannity, the conservative half of the highly rated cable debate show "Hannity & Colmes," is getting a new gig.
Sunday marks the debut of "Hannity's America," a weekly live, hourlong show on the Fox News Channel that will blend the debate style that Hannity is noted for on TV and syndicated radio with an opportunity to do much more than that. He'll remain on "Hannity & Colmes" as well as his daily radio show, which is syndicated by ABC Radio.
"We love what we're doing with 'Hannity & Colmes' -- we're really happy," Hannity said in a recent interview. "It's the second-highest-rated show on cable. It's just that for a long time I've wanted to branch out and do a couple of other things, and an opportunity has come up."
"Hannity's America" will be run by senior producer John Finley, who also is in charge of "Hannity & Colmes." It follows a successful pilot that Hannity did a few months ago with "man on the street" interviews like the ones he does on his radio show from time to time.
Hannity said there will be a debate element to the show but that's not all it's going to be. He said that central to the show will be a report from a Fox News correspondent that he likens to a cross between something from CBS' "60 Minutes" to HBO's "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel."
"There are so many stories that are not covered, and we are going to devote time, money, energy, reporters and resources," Hannity said. "We're going to send a reporter to cover a particular story on a particular week and let the reporter go behind the scenes in depth and tell a story."
This week's show will feature Iraq War protester Cindy Sheehan, and he also will interview "The View" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck on the Rosie O'Donnell-Donald Trump feud. The debate component, called "Hannity's Hot Seat," will feature a lightning round of five yes or no questions put to a liberal and then a debate.
"One of the things that has always frustrated me is that I can never get a yes or no question answered, so I spend all my time saying, I didn't ask that, yes or no, so we tell the guest ahead of time that we have five yes or no questions, and then we go into a discussion of whatever the topic is that week."
Also key to "Hannity's America" will be the naming of a "Great American" every week. Hannity's radio show often features Hannity talking about "great Americans." He describes them as "people that on a daily basis make this a great country and never get noticed."
It has been a busy couple of months for Hannity, who went to Iraq on former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's farewell tour and got an in-depth view of what was happening there. He said he came away with an increased appreciation for the American soldiers serving in Iraq.
"They're missing their families, their children, their wives. They're also worried about IEDs or being shot at. It's life-changing," Hannity said. "Whatever problems you have, they sort of evaporate because these guys have a far more difficult situation that they face every day. You couldn't go over there and not be inspired. They're really amazing."