Bill O’Reilly probably won’t be rushing out to the bookstore now that colleague Megyn Kelly’s memoir, Settle for More, is hot off the presses.
In an appearance on CBS This Morning, during which he was primarily promoting his own new book for kids, Give Please a Chance, co-written with James Patterson, O’Reilly appeared to throw some serious shade on the Kelly publication (officially released today), which she is starting to promote on various media platforms.
O’Reilly averages about 3.1 million viewers a night for The O’Reilly Factor at 8 p.m Monday through Friday on the Fox News Channel, with Kelly getting slightly less than that for The Kelly File at 9 p.m. Both programs blow away their counterparts on MSNBC and CNN.
Megyn Kelly’s show started out as a weekly, legal-oriented segment on The O’Reilly Factor.
There has been speculation that O’Reilly and Kelly have had a falling out since then.
“Behind-the-scenes tension between the two hosts has occasionally shown up on TV. But Tuesday’s comments were especially eyebrow-raising…The chilliness between the two of them was evident in the CBS interview,” CNN claimed.
With Kelly’s contract coming up for renewal, there have even been rumors that Megyn Kelly could jump to CNN and compete directly against O’Reilly in the coveted 8 p.m. time slot. Megyn Kelly supposedly has an offer on the table from Fox to re-up at $20 million a year, otherwise known as Bill O’Reilly money.
O’Reilly told the CBS hosts this morning that he hasn’t the read the book (which apparently includes information about her feud with Donald Trump, along with sexual harassment allegations against former FNC CEO Roger Ailes), and was not provided with an advance copy because the publisher had it locked down, which occasionally happens in the that industry for a high-profile work.
Parenthetically, some Kelly critics suspect that when she accused now President-elect Trump of misogyny in the first GOP presidential debate in August 2015, it was more about careerism and burnishing her credentials for CNN or another network than a legitimate journalistic inquiry.
O’Reilly then took the Settle for More dialogue in a different direction and was noncommittal about inviting Megyn Kelly on the Factor to promote it.
“Look, I’m trying to stay out of any of that kind of stuff. It doesn’t pertain to my life. I wish her well. She’s a very smart woman. You know it’s a very tough book environment. We will see if people respond to it. But I have not read it. But it’s not a dis. I mean it just came out. So I’ll look at it.”
When O’Reilly added that he’s not interested in “this,” anchor Norah O’Donnell wondered, “you’re not interested in sexual harassment?” At that point, O’Reilly’s demeanor appeared to change abruptly, and he seemed very stern if not defensive.
“I’m not interested in basically litigating something that is finished that makes my network look bad. Okay? I’m not interested in making my network look bad at all. That doesn’t interest me one bit.”
When O’Donnell asked O’Reilly if Megyn Kelly was making the network look bad, O’Reilly continued.
“I don’t know. But I’m not going to even bother with it. I’ve got a country that’s in a transition, political transition. All right. I’ve got a kids book that I want millions of kids to look at. That’s what I’m interested in. Not making my network look bad…Look, it’s open season. Let’s whack the Fox News Channel. I’ve had enough of it. It’s a place to work, all right? We do good work. We do honest work there. I’m not going to buy into let’s use the Fox News Channel as a pinata. I don’t think it’s right.”
“Kelly’s book offers new details about her time at Fox News working under Ailes, but also insights into her childhood and early years,” Variety noted about the 45-year-old former corporate lawyer.
Fox News pulled in massive ratings last week as the presidential election came to a close, Mediaite explained.
“The network posted its highest ever week of ratings over the five-day period from Monday through Friday…in primetime, Fox News posted a staggering 6,003,000 viewers, besting CNN, which came in second with 4,315,000…The numbers, of course, include the incredible audience totals from election night. Fox News’s coverage that night was the most watched on television — even including the broadcast networks — with 12.2 million viewers.”
Bill O’Reilly insinuates that Megyn Kelly’s book makes 'Fox News' look bad https://t.co/HnkIB7nQ3G— TIME (@TIME) November 15, 2016
The lawsuit filed by former Outnumbered host Andrea Tantaros against FNC, Ailes, and other network executives is still pending, so O’Reilly’s remark that litigation is finished is somewhat premature.
[Featured Image by Mark Von Holden/Invision for The Hollywood Reporter/AP Images)