On the same day billionaire financier and registered sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was arraigned on sex trafficking charges, Fox News host Sean Hannity joked about bringing back to the air Bill O’Reilly, who was forced out at Fox News in April 2017 after multiple harassment settlements were unearthed.
During the Monday night handoff between his show and The Ingraham Angle, Hannity thanked his viewers for making his prime-time program the number one show in cable news last month. This prompted Laura Ingraham to engage her fellow Fox host in some standard awkward banter.
“Can’t you do better than number one?” Ingraham asked. “I mean, honestly, you’ve been a slacker these last 20 years.”
“Twenty-three, but who’s counting,” Hannity humblebragged.
After Ingraham attempted to make a joke about doing better than first place, Hannity recounted a recent conversation he had with O’Reilly on his radio show.
“You know what I told O’Reilly the other day on my radio show?” Hannity asked his colleague. “I said, ‘Why don’t you come back to cable? I’ll let you be number one again because then I’ll take a lot less crap.’”
As Ingraham and others off-camera laughed, the pro-Trump conservative star continued to riff on O’Reilly coming back to Fox, adding that the former primetime staple could “take the crap” because “there’s a lot that comes with” being number one.
Prior to being booted from the network amid an advertiser boycott over sexual misconduct allegations. O’Reilly was the top-rated star in cable news. Following the one-time O’Reilly Factor host’s departure, Hannity returned to the 9 p.m. time slot and eventually took over as the most-watched cable news program.
Hannity, whom O’Reilly reportedly hated for years, has attempted to rehab his former stablemate’s career since his firing from Fox. A few months after O’Reilly was sent packing, Hannity brought him back on Fox News airwaves—following two radio hits—for a lengthy interview, telling him he’s welcome back whenever he wants.