In the wake of the Democrats' landslide win in the 2006 midterm elections, Fox News saw its dominant hold over its cable news competitors slacken somewhat, according to "The Loudest Voice in the Room," Gabriel Sherman's upcoming biography of Roger Ailes.
Ailes and his fellow executives were worried, writes Sherman, that the relative dip in ratings would soon become "a freefall." So what did the former advisor to Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan do? He reached out to one of his best buddies, the king of right-wing radio: Rush Limbaugh.
According to Sherman, however, Limbaugh turned down Ailes' offer to join the Fox News team, telling a friend at the time, "Roger is really trying to get me to come back. Why would I do this?"
Beyond being close friends, Limbaugh and Ailes had worked together previously. From 1992 to 1996, Limbaugh had a syndicated TV show for which Ailes was an executive producer. Yet the shared history was evidently not enough to convince the talk radio legend to get in front of the television cameras once again and join the Fox News team.
"My relationship with Roger has been more deeply personal on a friendship level and a professional level than I've ever experienced with anybody else that I've worked for or worked with," Limbaugh said of Ailes in 2009. "The things I've learned from him about being a man, about the country, about how to be a professional, nobody else taught me."
The book also claims that CNN and MSNBC tried to "woo" Limbaugh in 2001 by offering him a show, in an attempt to finally beat Fox News.