- April 19, 2017 at 9:25 am #174003
Rumors are at play here for now but talks of who takes over O’Reilly’s seat are at play here.
Fox News will no longer even respond to questions about whether Bill O’Reilly will return to his show.
A well-placed source said Tuesday afternoon that representatives for Fox and O’Reilly have begun talking about an exit. But this prompted a denial from sources in O’Reilly’s camp.
Even one person close to O’Reilly, however, said he will probably not be back on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
The original well-placed source said an announcement about O’Reilly’s fate was likely by the end of the week.
The fact that none of these sources were willing to go on the record speaks to the delicate maneuvering underway.
The network’s parent company, 21st Century Fox (FOX), will hold a board meeting on Thursday, a spokeswoman told CNNMoney. One of the sources said O’Reilly will be a primary topic.
The Murdochs, the men who control 21st Century Fox, are pointedly not commenting on any of this.
But conversations inside Fox have already turned to possible O’Reilly successors.
New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman, the author of a biography about ex-Fox News boss Roger Ailes, reported Tuesday that “the Murdochs are leaning toward announcing that O’Reilly will not return to the air.”
Sherman cited “three sources with knowledge of the discussions” and said “no final decision has been made.”
As CNNMoney has previously reported, there had been a split between Rupert Murdoch, the company’s patriarch, and his sons James and Lachlan, with James advocating for O’Reilly’s ouster. Lachlan was previously said to be in the middle. Sherman said Tuesday that Lachlan has “leaned more in his brother James’s direction” in recent days.
All of this is a reaction to a New York Times story about the settlement payments that O’Reilly, Fox and 21st Century Fox paid to women who accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment and verbal abuse.
Last week 21st Century Fox confirmed that an outside law firm was investigating allegations against O’Reilly.
The same firm — Paul, Weiss — played an instrumental role in the eventual resignation of Ailes last summer.
O’Reilly’s allies feel that he has been unfairly demonized by his accusers and a biased news media.
His opponents, including some influential voices inside 21st Century Fox, feel that O’Reilly has behaved badly over the years, that his behavior has been exposed, and that it’s inappropriate for Fox News to continue his show.
“The O’Reilly Factor” is by far the highest-rated program on cable news. But most of O’Reilly’s advertisers abandoned the show in the wake of the Times’ story.
O’Reilly began a pre-planned vacation to Italy last week. When he announced the vacation on air, Fox News and O’Reilly’s own outside spokesman said he’d be back on the “Factor” on April 24. Guest hosts are filling in this week.
O’Reilly remains in Italy while his team of agents and lawyers in New York work on his behalf.
Some sources on O’Reilly’s side said that, as of Tuesday afternoon, they still expect he’ll be back on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Monday.
But they acknowledged that none of them know for sure.
Fox recently renewed O’Reilly’s contract with the knowledge that the Times’ story was in the works.
The Times reported that the new deal was structured to give Fox “more leverage over him regarding his behavior.”
That could be a factor in negotiations now.
If O’Reilly does resign, or if Fox takes him off the air, he’d be the third major player to leave the network in the span of nine months. Ailes’ resignation last July was the result of sexual harassment charges by women at the network, including Megyn Kelly, who herself left Fox in January. O’Reilly defended Ailes when the women first came forward.
Kelly decided to leave Fox News in January. She is launching two new shows on NBC later this year.
Fox’s audience has remained extraordinarily loyal to the network amid all of the off-air controversies.
And many of O’Reilly’s fans are waiting for him to get back from vacation.
But on Tuesday, Fox would no longer confirm his April 24 return date.
When asked, “Will O’Reilly be returning to the Factor on April 24?,” the Murdochs’ top spokesperson did not respond.April 19, 2017 at 9:26 am #174004
Here are the possible list for an O’Reilly Replacement.
Four names are seen as the most likely candidates to fill O’Reilly’s shoes if reports of his demise are true: “The Five” co-host and “Cashin’ In” host Eric Bolling, “The Five” co-host and former White House press secretary Dana Perino, “The Five” co-host and former “Red Eye” host Greg Gutfeld, and “Watters World” host Jesse Watters, a longtime producer and man-on-the-street interviewer on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
All four have guest hosted for O’Reilly this year.
Bolling, a former commodities trader and staunch supporter of President Trump, has served in that capacity the most over the past few years.
Watters and Gutfeld, whose brand is more casual, comical and self-deprecating than O’Reilly or Bolling, have also been given plenty of at-bats.
Perino got her first opportunity on O’Reilly first day on vacation last Wednesday. After handing over the reigns to Bolling on Thursday and Gutfeld on Friday, she was tapped to host the first two days of this week.
Ratings fell 23 percent with Perino, Bolling and Gutfeld hosting over the first four nights without the vacationing O’Reilly. Despite the dropoff, Fox still easily beat its cable news competition at 8:00 p.m. ET in total viewers and the key 25-54 demographic.
Perino has performed best from a ratings perspective with 3.15 million viewers on Monday, down 16 percent from O’Reilly hosting a week earlier.
Bolling saw a 16 percent drop from O’Reilly hosting the Thursday prior, registering 3.11 million viewers.
Gutfeld’s Friday program was down 39 percent from the previous Friday when O’Reilly hosted, with 2.32 million viewers.
Another post-O’Reilly scenario, however, is a possibility: Replacing “The Factor” at 8:00 p.m. ET with “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” a proven commodity in the 9:00 p.m. ET slot.
The move would be familiar for Carlson, who was the co-host of “Fox & Friends Weekend” as recently as last summer before taking over for the departed Greta Van Susteren at 7:00 p.m. ET in September.
Carlson performed so well both critically and in terms of ratings that he was chosen to replace Kelly at 9:00 p.m. ET in January, increasing ratings considerably in the timeslot in the process.
Replacing Carlson at 9:00 p.m. ET would be the steady Sean Hannity, currently at 10:00 p.m. ET, who has been with the network as a primetime host since its inception in 1996. Hannity was Fox’s 9:00 p.m. ET host until Kelly was moved into that position in 2013.
As for 10:00 p.m. ET, the network and any host being tapped for it would be relatively relieved of any pressure to perform up to O’Reilly’s standards from a ratings or content perspective. Under this scenario, Fox could experiment on its own terms via a bake-off of rotating hosts for the foreseeable future until a permanent personality is decided upon.
If a program at 10:00 pm ET ends up opening up, the competition may extend well beyond Bolling, Perino, Gutfeld and Watters.
Another “Five” co-host, Kimberly Guilfoyle, would undoubtedly be considered. Former CNBC star Trish Regan of the Fox Business Network would also likely be in the running, as would another former guest host for O’Reilly, syndicated radio host Laura Ingraham.
And then there’s the possibility of moving another hit opinion show, “The Five” to 10:00 p.m. ET, which would allow Perino, Bolling, Guilfoyle and Gutfeld to get a permanent hosting job in primetime, along with former Democratic strategist Bob Beckel.
In any scenario, replacing O’Reilly would be the most daunting task Fox News has ever faced.April 19, 2017 at 10:28 am #174010
Moving everyone up one hour, then using “The Five” at 10 would work best, in my opinion.April 19, 2017 at 1:30 pm #174014
Here’s an update from USA Today:
Maybe Fox News Channel should replace “The O’Reilly Factor” with an hour of straight, hard-news (something Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC do during the daytime hours, but not during East Coast prime-time).April 19, 2017 at 2:06 pm #174015
And another update from New York magazine, posted early this afternoon (April 19th), suggesting that Fox News Channel has decided to drop Bill O’Reilly:
This Philadelphia Inquirer story (actually posted this past Sunday, April 16th, but something I hadn’t seen until now) suggests that former Fox News Channel hostess (and soon to be NBC News anchor/correspondent) Megyn Kelly reportedly complained about O’Reilly’s behavior before she left Fox News Channel:April 19, 2017 at 2:48 pm #174016
And now (2:45 P.M. EDT, April 19th) it’s official: Bill O’Reilly has been axed from Fox News Channel.
NBC News report:
Update (3:15 P.M. EDT): The New York Times has posted it’s story on O’Reilly’s departure:April 19, 2017 at 4:14 pm #174023
Apparently L.A. Times is saying that Tucker Carlson will take over O’Reilly’s spot at Fox News.April 19, 2017 at 4:44 pm #174028
Here’s a Hollywood Reporter story including memos sent to Fox News Channel staffers by Fox News Channel owner Rupert Murdoch (scroll down to see the memos):April 21, 2017 at 7:39 am #174067
Apparently the Star-Telegram has written an editorial where Bill O’Reilly will have a greater chance at resolving his scandal than Alex Jones. Wow if you are watching the Alex Jones/ infowars child custody trial you are bound to think that the O’Reilly scandal is mundane. Alex Jones keeps throwing the courtroom into the next scandal whenever he testifies in court. Note Alex Jones is a YouTube talk show host who has been accused of other scandals such as the Pizzagate scandal.April 24, 2017 at 10:18 am #174132
O’Reilly has a Podcast deal.April 24, 2017 at 10:19 am #174133
Now Sean Hannity is in a scandal.
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