"You can pick your friends, you cannot select your relatives."
The statement came from none other than conservative television host Bill O'Reilly, who revealed that an upcoming episode of a PBS genealogy show found he is distant cousins with liberal rival Bill Maher.
The kinship will be investigated during a January episode of the show, "Finding Your Roots," which begins its third season next month.
Maher, host of HBO's "Real Time," said the big reveal highlights the American melting pot. "It just shows you what a great place America is," Maher says in the episode. "Because we're about as opposite as you can possibly get."
O'Reilly, host of "O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News, disclosed his cousin's identity on his show Monday. "Does the name Bill Maher mean anything?" he asked viewers, making a cross with his forefinger and pen.
CBS News reports a genealogist traced Y chromosomes from both TV hosts to a common ancestor hailing from a region in Ireland.
"Finding Your Roots," hosted by famed Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, came under scrutiny this year, after an investigation found actor Ben Affleck had pressured showrunners to leave out details they found about an ancestor who owned slaves. The episode featuring Affleck didn't mention the link, and network executives said producers had allowed Affleck "improper influence" over the show.
Season three of "Finding Your Roots" will feature 28 guests, including Richard Branson, Julianne Moore, John McCain and Shonda Rhimes. The season begins Jan. 5. The O'Reilly-Maher episode is scheduled to air a week later.
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