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Howard Stern And Sean Hannity Heart Each Other

Reported by Ellen - March 8, 2006

You’d think that if Howard Stern was going to do an exclusive interview with just one of the hosts of Hannity & Colmes, he’d pick Alan Colmes. But you’d be wrong. And if you thought that a half-hour long interview between Stern and Sean Hannity would produce plenty of fireworks, you’d be wrong about that, too. Instead, it was practically a love fest last night on Hannity & Colmes (3/7/06) as Stern talked about watching FOX News so much, it made me wonder if he had time to do anything else. Hannity turned into a champion of free speech concerned about the unfair treatment Stern received at the hands of the FCC. The whole thing made me suspicious that it was part of the deal FOX News made with Sirius to get back into its lineup.

Last night’s interview was Part 1 of 2. Most of the discussion was about CBS’ lawsuit against Stern for breach of contract and unjust enrichment, alleging, among other things, that he promoted Sirius while still working at CBS. You can read more about the lawsuit here.

Sitting in front of a backdrop containing a large Sirius logo, almost the first words out of Stern’s mouth were, “I was watching FOX News. Almost every show had a legal expert on saying the lawsuit was a bunch of baloney.” He called the lawsuit “frivolous,” and characterized it as “all fun and games” for CBS. “I, on the other hand have to go hire lawyers and defend myself.”

Hannity, noting that Stern had called the suit sour grapes and an attempt to bully him asked, “How are they trying to bully you?”

Stern didn’t sound intimidated as he described meeting with Les Moonves, head of CBS, whom Stern said had capped teeth and botox injections. The way Stern told it, he said to Moonves, “You’re gonna look like a fool. This is an idiotic lawsuit.”

Stern claimed that he had received permission to mention Sirius while he was still at CBS and that the managers could have edited him at any time.

“In the end, this helps Howard Stern. It brings more attention to your new gig,” Hannity said.

Stern agreed that might be the case but that the lawsuit caused him a lot of personal grief anyway because of his long relationship with and loyalty to CBS. He went on to call the lawsuit a distraction from CBS' dismal ratings since he left and a way to make the shareholders think Moonves was an effective leader.

Hannity just happened to go over a few items refuting CBS’ claims: That mentions of Sirius were routinely edited out of Stern's broadcasts; that Moonves said if he had been offered that much money, he’d go over to Sirius, too; that Moonves had purchased a Sirius radio in order to listen to Stern after he left.

Stern claimed that the suit was going to be “the crack in the cosmic egg” for Moonves. According to Stern, Moonves “got a free ride” and was put in charge of radio only because the TV division did so well. “Now people are going to see what this guy’s up to.”

After the break, Hannity and Stern schmoozed. Hannity admired Stern’s success. Stern told Hannity, “You’re doing very well… You’re very talented… I’m a fan of yours. I watch you on FOX News all the time.”

When Stern complained that he tried to call David Lee Roth’s radio show and that Roth would not take his call, Hannity said, “You can call my show anytime.”

“I will call in,” Stern promised.

Then Hannity joked that Stern would tell him to “stop with the Republican stuff,” and the two of them kidded at the same time, “Get some strippers in there.”

They joked some more, this time about Hannity’s past in which all he would say was that before age 23, “I was out of control.”

Hannity told Stern “I’ve always defended you. I’ve always thought the FCC’s been unfair to you.”

“You’ve been great,” Stern quickly told him.

Hannity, who does his best to squelch and demonize anyone who disagrees with him, suddenly turned open-minded. “If they can throw Howard Stern off the air… they can throw conservatives off. Why don’t we have free speech?”

Stern and Hannity reminisced about their early days in radio when they made hardly any money. Hannity talked about how he worked for free his first year, “Then $19,000 a year.”

News flash for “Regular Guy” Hannity. I know a lot of people right now who would be very happy earning $19,000 a year.

Near the end of the interview, Stern talked about his personal life. A sympathetic Hannity said Stern “seemed conflicted” and asked if he was happy. Stern, who admitted to going to therapy four times a week, said he’s happier but didn’t say he was happy. “I went into therapy specifically to become a better father.” He said that he sacrificed so much for his work, that his life passed him by in some respects. He said he’s in a great relationship with his girlfriend. “I don’t want to screw that up… I want my kids to know that… my attention is on them and I love them. I want people in my personal life to know I care about them. And that was something I worked on in therapy and I’m proud of that.”

Tomorrow night is supposed to be more of the personal side of Stern.

Curious about why Stern did the interview with Hannity only, I turned on Alan Colmes’ radio program which comes on immediately after the TV show. Sure enough, one of his first callers had the same question. Colmes said, “(Stern) doesn’t do a lot of interviews. I don’t know all the details of how this particular interview happened. You don’t just call Howard and say ‘you want to come on my show?’ I think usually there are some other considerations.”

I report, you decide.

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