Kilmeade had been working as a sportscaster and doing standup comedy at the time, and the network asked if he could come in and do a read for a TV sports news segment. The network had just launched, and didn’t have wide carriage on cable systems. He couldn’t even watch it in New York.
After giving it some thought, Kilmeade went for it. “No one’s watching FOX News, anyway. I’d love to get hired here. I’m doing it,” he says. “I knew when I walked in here — even though nobody was watching yet because they didn’t have the carriage — I knew this place was going to be huge.”
WATCH: Kilmeade talks about an unexpected encounter with Sylvester Stallone:
As FOX News Channel reaches 25 years on air, it has indeed been huge in its audience and its influence. The network recognized the way people consume news was changing, and it was able to reflect and successfully adapt to those changes.
“We don’t have viewers. We have fans,” Kilmeade says. “People are so dug in. People are so into the news now. It’s very rare when people don’t have an opinion about what’s going on.”
FOX News Channel’s 25th anniversary celebration kicks off on Sunday, Oct. 3, with an hourlong FOX News Channel: 25 Years special at 10pm ET. The program features interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and flashbacks from FNC’s biggest names and will incorporate the evolution of the channel since its launch on Oct. 7, 1996, through the eyes of its founding on-air team and many of its prominent stars. The special will also be available to stream on FOX Nation.
Kilmeade shared some of his most memorable FOX News Channel moments, interviews and more:
“One of the first was when Dennis Rodman was at the Super Bowl live. Dennis Rodman was at his zenith, he was married to Carmen Electra. We happened to be live on the air, and he came walking out of a bar. I was able to interview him for a half hour. I’m not too sure he wasn’t very drunk, but that was one of the most interesting interviews ever.”
“I was able to interview President George W. Bush. I was asked to do the play-by-play with Tim McCarver on his last tee ball game and then do one of his last interviews before he left the White House. I thought that was pretty special.”
“We also had President Trump one week before he announced. He said, ‘What do you think? Am I running?’ I said, ‘I think in one week you’re going to have a big announcement.’ And that kind of stood out, because that’s exactly what he did.”
“I’ve covered 21 Super Bowls here. There have been so many great moments at the Super Bowl. I remember interviewing Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush at the Super Bowl on the field.”