O’Reilly To Leave FNC?

I have not written about the O’Reilly sexual harassment stories. Nor did I write about the advertiser boycotts. Nor did I write about the calls for O’Reilly to be fired. I didn’t write about any of it. I just didn’t believe anything would come of it.

When Roger Ailes got removed from FNC…things started out on simmer and then quickly moved into full boil in a matter of a week. The signs were against Ailes quickly and the outcome seemed almost preordained.

That isn’t how things played out with O’Reilly. For one thing he’s already survived sexual harassment lawsuits and remained at FNC. So any new allegations would appear to be “baked in” and not necessarily the the silver bullet capable of taking O’Reilly out. Even the New York Times’ piece on the payouts for previously undisclosed claims agains O’Reilly didn’t seem to move the needle.

And advertiser pressure? Yes, a lot of premium advertisers had pulled out. But not in my collective memory can I recall an advertiser boycott/pullout successfully result in forcing out a host. It just doesn’t happen.

For all these reasons I had never believed O’Reilly was a goner.

I believed then and still believe now that FNC can successfully ride this out without long term damage if it chooses to display the intestinal fortitude to do so.

And yet, it appears FNC has other ideas.

CNN’s Brian Stelter writes

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.

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3 Responses to “O’Reilly To Leave FNC?”

  1. As I posted on a blog the other day, “Many women at FNC, FBN and yes even Fox broadcast are concerned with the continuing culture even after Ailes left — and angry that BillO has yet to be fired.”

    It’s hard for us outsiders to calculate just how much this plays into Rupert Murdoch’s final decision given reports suggest both sons now agree to let O’Reilly go.

  2. “For one thing he’s already survived sexual harassment lawsuits and remained at FNC.”

    ^^Things have changed at FNC since the earlier O’Reilly s*xual harassment lawsuits. Billo’s main defenders at Fox News are not running the network anymore. Roger Ailes has been fired and Robert Murdoch has mostly handed over the day to day operation of the network to his son’s. The boys don’t have the loyalty to O’Reilly that Ailes and Murdoch senior do and their view of s*xual harassment in the workplace doesn’t come from the 1950’s. I do agree the advertiser boycott will play only a minor role unless it spreads to other parts of the network.

    One thing I’ve seen recently, that no one has mentioned yet, is that O’Reilly signed a new contract not long ago. This reminds me somewhat of Brian Williams situation at NBC. You have a disgraced host with a new long term multi-million dollar contract that you can’t use on air but are committed to paying a ton of money to. NBC solved this problem by moving Williams to MSNBC until they could rehabilitate him or buy out his contract. I suppose FNC could use a morals clause to pressure O’Reilly to negotiate but that will take time and FNC has no where to hide Billo until the deal is done.

    FNC is still the highest rated network on basic cable and the replacement of Billo is unlikely to change that fact anytime soon. The network’s fate is not tied to the popularity of any given host but rather to Trump and the GOP’s popularity. His replacement will likely lose some viewership but my guess is they will still be #1 in their time-slot for the foreseeable future – unless Trump’s and Republican’s popularity continues to tank.

    The thing that I do wonder about is where would O’Reilly go if he were fired? I can’t see another network hiring him so I assume he goes the Glen Beck or Oprah route and starts his own network. If so would his audience follow him?

    As for his replacement my guess is someone like Laura Ingraham who already has connections at FNC and who style is somewhat similar, though much less pompous, than O’Reilly.

  3. fritz, I had thought only about an inhouse replacement for O’Reilly, but your idea regarding Ingraham is a good one.

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