Alan Colmes Leaves Fox News

Fox News * Hannity & Colmes

Alan Colmes, shown here in 2003, is departing the Fox News Channel program “Hannity & Colmes.” (AP)

“Hannity & Colmes” will soon be without “Colmes.”

Alan Colmes, the longtime liberal half of the Fox News Channel prime time program, will leave the show at the end of the year.

Alan Colmes, the longtime liberal half of the Fox News Channel prime time program, will leave the show at the end of the year, the network announced Monday.

Update: 9:45 p.m.: While the network remained quiet about its plans for the political debate program, two people close to the network said that Sean Hannity, 46, Mr. Colmes’s conservative counterpart for the last 12 years, would become the sole host of the hour. The people requested anonymity while speaking about private deliberations.

Mr. Colmes’s departure, coming as a Democrat prepares to take over the White House, is a sharp change to the prime-time lineup of Fox News, a subsidiary of the News Corporation. A Fox News spokeswoman would not confirm that Mr. Hannity would be the sole host and said that no decision had been made.

Mr. Colmes will remain at the network as a commentator and will develop a possible weekend program. He will also continue to host his 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. radio show, “The Alan Colmes Show.”

“It’s been a great twelve years,” read the headline on Mr. Colmes’ Web site.

In a statement, Mr. Colmes said that he approached Bill Shine, the network’s senior vice president of programming, earlier in the year and said he wanted to move on and “develop new and challenging ways to contribute to the growth of the network.”

“Although it’s bittersweet to leave one of the longest marriages on cable news, I’m proud that both Sean and I remained unharmed after sitting side by side, night after night for so many years,” he said.

“Hannity & Colmes” is the longest-running prime time program on the Fox News Channel. It debuted along with the network in 1996. Three years later, Mr. Colmes recalled the formation of the show in an interview with The New York Times:

A year and a half ago, when the conservative-minded Mr. Hannity was picked to be host of a program like ”Crossfire” on the Fox News Channel, no one knew who his co-host would be. ”Roger Ailes said to me, ‘You know any good liberals?’ ” Mr. Hannity recalled. ”So we started auditioning some.”

In the interim the production crew called the show ”Hannity and LTBD.” LTBD stood for ”Liberal to Be Determined.” ”It was fill in the blank,” said Mr. Colmes, who grew up in Lynbrook, New York loving all progressive causes. ”I was the blank.”

Mr. Hannity remembered Mr. Colmes from being paired with him on debates on CNN and CNBC. He suggested that Mr. Colmes be considered. In the beginning conservatism was on a much sounder footing. ”They said, ‘We’ll give you six weeks,’ ” Mr. Colmes recalled. Six weeks to be a good liberal. ”My option came up every commercial break,” he said.

Hannity & Colmes routinely ranks as the No. 2 program on cable news behind “The O’Reilly Factor,” which precedes it at 8 p.m. Boosted by the presidential election, the program averaged 3.3 million viewers in October.

Mr. Hannity signed a new contract with Fox News last month.

  1. May 4th, 2012

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