Bill O’Reilly reportedly has various options when it comes to a 2.0 version of The O’Reilly Factor (assuming he still holds rights to that name) on another television network.
His TV career comeback could start sooner rather than later.
O’Reilly presided over the top-rated show on the cable news network for 15 years prior to his exit from the Fox News Channel on April 19. Up until recently, the powerhouse Fox News prime-time lineup buried MSNBC and CNN.
The news anchor got into hot water after the New York Times reported that he or his employer paid out $13 million to confidentially settle sexual harassment claims by five women, and advertisers started bailing on The O’Reilly Factor.
It’s unclear at this point whether the revamped Fox News post-O’Reilly, prime-time schedule will be able to hold on to his massive audience given all the turmoil and musical chairs. With that in mind, an opening could exist for a populist-oriented Fox News competitor to emerge, especially one featuring a new program anchored by Bill O’Reilly.
O’Reilly was one of the first hires of Roger Ailes, the FNC founder/CEO who passed away last Thursday and who also left the network under a cloud.
According to the New York Times, FNC paid O’Reilly $25 million to go away without requiring a non-compete clause in return.
Since his FNC departure, O’Reilly, 67, launched the “no-spin” podcast and began a weekly phone-in segment on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze show. From the sound of his dialogue with Beck, Bill O’Reilly is totally engaged and in no way planning to hang it up.
Among the landing spots for O’Reilly as a news and commentary anchor include (but obviously aren’t limited to) the One America News Network, Newsmax TV, and the Sinclair Broadcast Group, the Times noted, all of which are conservative leaning.
San Diego-based OANN, which reportedly has already been in contact with O’Reilly, was the former home of Tomi Lahren before her ill-fated move to TheBlaze. Florida-based Newsmax is expanding from 10 million to 35 million homes this summer (still far less than FNC), and its CEO Chris Ruddy expressed interested in discussing the possibility of bringing O’Reilly aboard. Sinclair, another potential contender, is in the process of buying Tribune Media and is already said to be the largest TV station group in America.
Given his wealth, which also includes his series of best-sellers and his “The Spin Stops Here” tour with comedian Dennis Miller and FNC protege Jesse Watters, O’Reilly has no need, however, to rush back to the studio to pay his mortgage or keep food on the table.
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O’Reilly’s next move has yet to be nailed down, however, the Times explained, in part because of the sexual harassment accusations.
“Whether Mr. O’Reilly would go any of those routes, and whether the advertising boycott that contributed to his Fox ouster would make picking him up prohibitive, remains to be seen. (Mr. O’Reilly’s representatives declined to comment on his plans).”
The Times suggested that a Newsmax-Sinclair joint venture for O’Reilly’s services might materialize.
“It’s conceivable that Newsmax, with Mr. O’Reilly in its stable, could simulcast its programming on Sinclair’s digital channels. It’s equally possible Sinclair could buy Newsmax outright and combine it with the WGN America cable network it would acquire in the Tribune deal, though Mr. Ruddy said he had no plans to sell. (Sinclair had no comment other than to say it was not seeking to hire Mr. O’Reilly.)”
In a recent exchange with Beck, O’Reilly asserted — perhaps alluding to both his own situation and that of his former boss Ailes — that the media industry is all about money, and that anybody who gets in the way of that income stream will quickly find themselves on the outside looking in.
O’Reilly has previously argued that his departure from Fox News was part of an orchestrated campaign by a left-wing cabal and that he will be bringing forth more information to corroborate same in due course.
Do you think Bill O’Reilly will be back on the air soon with a new network that could compete with Fox News for market share?
[Featured Image by Jim Cooper/AP Images]