Alan Colmes leaving "Hannity & Colmes"; Update: A note to KP fans; Update: Hannity to go solo?

Broken by Radio Equalizer, confirmed by Fox News.

In announcing his decision, Colmes said, “I approached Bill Shine (FNC’s Senior Vice President of Programming) earlier this year about wanting to move on after 12 years to develop new and challenging ways to contribute to the growth of the network. Although it’s bittersweet to leave one of the longest marriages on cable news, I’m proud that both Sean (Hannity) and I remained unharmed after sitting side by side, night after night for so many years.”

Colmes will continue to have a presence on FNC as he will serve as a liberal commentator on a variety of FOX News programming, including’s The Strategy Room and continue hosting his radio program, The Alan Colmes Show on FOX Talk, a division of FOX News Radio. He will also begin developing a weekend program…

Hannity added, “Not only has Alan been a remarkable co-host, he’s been a great friend which is rare in this industry. I’ll genuinely miss sparring with such a skillful debate partner.”

Commenters in the Headlines item are demanding “Malkin & Powers.” Odds are fair that they’ll get half their wish. Hannity could carry the show himself — he does it in “Hannity’s America,” after all — but an hour of him after an hour of O’Reilly, night after night, would be … taxing. Plus, to move from right-wing to very right-wing during primetime would expose the “fair and balanced” credo to even more mockery. The X factor is Rachel Maddow, who still trails far behind H&C in overall viewers but is up from where MSNBC used to be in that time slot and is closing in among the 25-to-54 demo. Do the Foxies try to steal back some of her thunder by hiring a hard lefty, the better to spar with Hannity? If so, er, who? Colmes wasn’t hard left, but he was considerably more doctrinaire than Juan Williams and our favorite liberal; a “Hannity & X” where X is center-left and not temperamentally inclined to play attack dog by badgering guests might be a slow go.

Then again, Hannity’s bound to have sway in who gets picked and it’s no secret he’s a KP fan. She’s on the show every week and frequently on “Hannity’s America.” She’s comfortable with the format, having guest-hosted for Colmes regularly. She’d increase the female presence in the line-up, which will soon drop now that Glenn Beck’s taking over from Hemmer and Kelly at 5 p.m. And she’s leading in the TV Newser online poll. I know where the smart money is. Exit question: According to TV Newser, this has been in the works for months. Wouldn’t/shouldn’t FNC have someone lined up already?

Update: My preference is no secret, but I admit, I’d watch “Hannity & Carville.”

Update: I should have mentioned earlier, if you prefer “Hannity & Powers” to an hour of Hannity solo, it’d pay to make your feelings known at that online poll I linked above. Industry people monitor TV Newser; if there’s a big push for KP, Fox will surely take note. E-mailing would also be good. Send it to [email protected]

Update: Sounds like they’re leaning towards Hannity solo. As I say, unless you want five nights a week of “Hannity’s America,” you’d better vote/e-mail.

So what will happen to “Hannity & Colmes?” Sean Hannity, the popular conservative commentator, may become the sole host of the program, according to one source close to the network who insisted on anonymity while speaking about private deliberations. Mr. Hannity currently hosts a weekend program, “Hannity’s America,” that may be used as a template for the weekday program. A Fox News spokeswoman said that no decision had been made.