In 1989, Sean Hannity got his first job in radio, hosting a show for no pay at a volunteer college station at UC Santa Barbara. Hannity didn’t last long on the liberal campus and was fired for making homophobic comments, which Hannity has since admitted were “ignorant and embarrassing.” Nearly three decades later, the 56-year-old is at the height of a high-profile career.
Hannity drew 3.368 million total viewers last quarter, making him the most-watched host in cable news. His Fox News program Hannity was the only show on MSNBC, CNN or Fox News to even break 3 million viewers. As for his first love, radio, Hannity is the second-most-listened-to talk radio host in the U.S. with 14 million weekly listeners. (Hannity is only beaten by fellow Premiere Networks radio host Rush Limbaugh.)
This year Hannity is the only cable news host on our annual list of the world’s 100 highest paid celebrities. In the last 12 months, he earned $36 million before taxes and management fees, thanks to his eight-figure paychecks from his programs on Fox News and Premiere Networks. His contracts for Fox and Premiere are estimated at $15 million and $20 million respectively, and Hannity adds to his bottom line with speaker fees.
“Like most media people on TV, I am overpaid,” Hannity told Us Weekly in 2017. “I know this because of my blue-collar roots, for which I am grateful.”