Let the battle begin.

The two Celtic warriors, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity, are now officially in a duel to the death after Hannity surpassed O'Reilly as the top cable newscaster of the past week.

Sean Hannity's Wednesday interview with Sarah Palin averaged 4.2 million viewers, which was sufficient to crack the top ten telecasts in all of cable last week. O'Reilly's interview with Palin averaged 4.12 million viewers.

It marks one of the first times that "Hannity" has ousted "The O'Reilly Factor" from the top spot and sets up a showdown between the two opinionated personalities, who both hail from Long Island, NY.

O'Reilly has been  king of the hill for so long that it was always assumed he would stay as the No. 1 cable news broadcaster. But now it appears than Hannity is closing in.

Since Hannity dropped the liberal Alan Colmes, his ratings have continued to climb. He now seems within striking distance of ousting the venerable O'Reilly.

The two men actually get along well, but if O'Reilly senses a younger challenger -- that might change. O'Reilly is arguably the more moderate of the two, and often has good things to say about Barack Obama, for instance.  Not so Hannity -- who despises the commander in chief and has been leading the charge against his policies.

There has also been talk of Hannity pursuing a political career, chatter that he does not seek to dampen down. Perhaps his rise in the ratings is what has spurred O'Reilly to do regular slots with Glenn Beck, the fire-eating conservative who is moving fast up the Fox rankings.