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Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has told allies he hopes to expand Breitbart’s video capabilities, potentially even creating an alternate television network to rival Fox News.
Axios reported last week that Bannon has told friends that he sees an opportunity for a new network that could occupy an ideological space to the right of Fox News, an idea encouraged by ousted chairman and CEO Roger Ailes before his death earlier this year.
And according to Vanity Fair reporter Gabe Sherman, Bannon met with billionaire funder Robert Mercer last week and discussed Breitbart’s options for expanding into television, including a potential partnership with Sinclair Media, which owns a large number of local television stations across the US.
“In recent days, Sinclair’s chief political analyst Boris Epshteyn has spoken with Breitbart editors about ways to form an alliance, one Breitbart staffer said. ‘All the Sinclair guys are super tight with Breitbart. Imagine if we got together Hannity and O’Reilly and started something?'”
Rumors have swirled for months about a potential new cable network to rival Fox, but any potential traditional television network appears unlikely in the near future.
As Alex Weprin noted in Politico’s Morning Media newsletter, the cost of starting a new conservative cable television channel would be an enormous undertaking. It would cost, at minimum, hundreds of millions of dollars, at a time when networks are concerned with cord-cutting.
Weprin also said that any partnership with Sinclair would be hobbled by different agreements with affiliates.
Breitbart could also follow the online model tried unsuccessfully by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who launched her own subscription streaming network in 2014. But such a venture would likely face many of the same obstacles: reaching the wide swath of older conservative viewers and attracting serious revenue to compete with Fox.