Alan Colmes, the liberal half of the Fox News Show Hannity and Colmes, will be leaving the show at the end of 2008. Alan Colmes will remain at his Fox syndicated radio show and will possibly develop a new weekend show for Fox News.
Alan Colmes started his career in stand-up comedy and appeared on a variety of radio stations in Boston and New York. Alan Colmes was hired by Fox News to be the liberal half of a Crossfire style show on Fox News in 1996, with nationally syndicated talk show host Sean Hannity as the conservative half.
Hannity and Colmes, which has lasted for twelve years at its 9 PM Eastern time slot, is the second highest rated show on Fox News, next to the O’Reilly Factor. Following the crossfire format, Sean Hannity and Alan Colmes would interview a guest or, occasionally, moderate a panel discussion of several pundits. There would be a brief recap at the end of the show.
Alan Colmes, likely because of his previous experience in radio, is a far more successful host than most liberal radio and television hosts. Alan Colmes can be combative at times with guests, but rarely crossing that line into rudeness. That is not to say that some guests, Dick Morris recently for example, have not had harsh words with Alan Colmes on the air.
Alan Colmes was in an awkward position, though, as the co-host of Hannity and Colmes. Conservative viewers tended to dislike him because he was always seen as the foil and opponent of Sean Hannity, a wildly popular radio talk show host whose audience is second only to Rush Limbaugh’s. Liberal viewers also tended to dislike Alan Colmes because he tended to be overshadowed by his more telegenic, more charismatic partner Sean Hannity. Many liberal viewers do not consider Alan Colmes to be liberal enough and certainly not aggressive enough. Oddly enough that is the exact opposite of what conservative viewers perceive him.
The future of Hannity and Colmes is now up in the air. A liberal replacement could be found for Alan Colmes. Kristin Powers or Juan Williams, both of whom have substituted for Alan Colmes, have been mentioned as possibilities. Another option is to continue the show with Sean Hannity as a solo host. Sean Hannity already has a sole spot on a weekend show on the Fox Network.
For those who like their TV commentary with a little vinegar, Alan Colmes will be missed, regardless of one’s political persuasion. Unlike many liberals who have failed at TV and radio punditry, Alan Colmes has had some measure of success, even without the so-called “Fairness Doctrine” which Alan Colmes, being an honest liberal in support of free speech, opposes. And that too is to his credit.
Source: One Half of ‘Hannity & Colmes’ Is Leaving, Brian Stelter, New York Times, November 24th, 2008