Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity both agreed to be part of a potential TV project that would have been led by the late Fox News CEO Roger Ailes in partnership with former White House strategist Steve Bannon, a new book claims.
Journalist Michael Wolff wrote in Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House that Ailes wrote a letter to Bannon at the White House in April last year, "O'Reilly and Hannity are in, what about you?"
At the time, O'Reilly, Fox's biggest star, had just been sacked from the network after allegations of sexual harassment became public, and Ailes had been ousted from the network several months earlier for the same reason. Hannity was and still is a primetime show host, and Bannon was still in the White House.
"Ailes, in secret, had been plotting his comeback with a new conservative network," Wolff wrote. "Currently in internal exile inside the White House, Bannon — 'the next Ailes' — was all ears."
The book said that both Ailes and Bannon were plotting a potential new TV project that would directly compete with Fox News and harness the same energy that put President Trump in the White House.
"[W]ith O'Reilly and Hannity on board, there could be television riches fueled by, into the foreseeable future, a new Trump-inspired era of right-wing passion and hegemony," the book said. "Ailes's message to his would-be-protege was plain: Not just the rise of Trump, but the fall of Fox could be Bannon's moment."
In the end, Bannon chose to hold onto his job in the White House, though he was fired four months later. Ailes died in May.
The Washington Examiner on Friday reached out to spokespersons for O'Reilly and Hannity.