Archive for the FNC Category

Oops…

Posted in FNC on April 20, 2017 by icn2

Looks like some emails got misdirected in the O’Reilly-FNC split and Politico’s Joe Pompeo was the beneficiary

The day before Bill O’Reilly was cut loose from Fox News after 20 years with the network, his handlers appeared to believe they had at least one more card to pull that might help save his job in the midst of a sexual harassment scandal engulfing the top-rated prime time host.

On Tuesday, O’Reilly and his legal team debated whether to share with the leadership of parent company 21st Century Fox an April 13 email from Mary Pat Bonner, a Democratic fundraiser and ally of the liberal watchdog group Media Matters, which had spearheaded what she called an “advertiser education campaign” to get advertisers to pull out of O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. nightly broadcast, “The O’Reilly Factor.”

The email, whose recipients’ names were redacted in the version that was shared with POLITICO, announced two conference calls — originally scheduled for this Thursday and Friday — with Media Matters President Angelo Carusone. The purpose was to discuss “the success of the campaign so far, and our plans moving forward.”

FNC Will Be Just Fine Without O’Reilly…

Posted in FNC on April 20, 2017 by icn2

If you’ve been reading all the “obituaries” on the O’Reilly era at FNC – and you would have to be living under a rock to avoid them – you’d think losing O’Reilly is a huge loss.

It might have been at one time but it hasn’t been the case for a while now.

The world (and by extension FNC) reached peak O’Reilly 11 years ago. His ratings now may be higher than 11 years ago but in terms of brand and perception, Bill O’Reilly was the top dog and the trailblazer at FNC in 2006, neither of which he was by the time of his ouster in 2017.

The world didn’t pass O’Reilly by but a series of things happened which made O’Reilly look almost mainstream and tame by comparison.

I first touched on this subject six years ago when I asked if Bill O’Reilly had become passe. In that article I noted that Glenn Beck’s arrival at FNC had made O’Reilly look a little tame by comparison.

But now looking back, it was more than that. Beck’s arrival signaled the beginning of the end of Bill O’Reilly as the barometer of FNC. He may have gotten the top ratings but he was no longer going to be the water cooler driver he had been prior to Beck’s arrival. Glenn Beck’s antics made O’Reilly look antiquated by comparison.

Similarly, another change that occurred around the same time as Beck’s arrival also contributed to the diversification of FNC’s brand from O’Reilly centric to diffuse across multiple talents; the breakup of Hannity and Colmes.

Dumping Colmes off the show made Hannity his own force of nature for the network. He already had some cachet but with Colmes hanging around the spotlight was never completely his. With Colmes gone Hannity was able to solidify his position and brand at FNC as the ultimate conservative base pandering homer.

Yes, that’s a derogatory way of putting it but that was and still is his function at FNC. You want consistency? You watch Hannity. You want your world reaffirmed? You watch Hannity. You don’t necessarily get that from O’Reilly because he can occasionally throw a maddening curve ball your way.

With Hannity holding down the base and Beck holding down the fringe, O’Reilly was no longer the perceived center of the FNC opinion universe…regardless of what his ratings did.

And then after Beck left there was The Five which broke up O’Reilly’s once upon a time iron grasp on FNC’s opinion center even further by providing a platform for more people to shoot there mouths off.

POV analysis which in 2006 centered chiefly on O’Reilly had, by 2017, dispersed itself to many fiefdoms. Hannity, The Five, Outnumbered, Tucker Carlson…it wasn’t just O’Reilly’s show any more.

This is why, though the ratings may dip a little from what O’Reilly had, Tucker Carlson’s takeover of 8pm should not hurt FNC financially to any significant degree. It’s why FNC can move The Five from 5pm to 9pm. It’s why slotting Eric Bolling in at 5 won’t do much if any ratings damage there either.

FNC diversified. It wasn’t just O’Reilly’s kingdom anymore. It’s why FNC will be just fine without O’Reilly.

Still More O’Reilly…

Posted in FNC on April 19, 2017 by icn2

Vanity Fair’s Sarah Ellison has a must read piece on the O’Reilly fallout…

The most unsettling feeling among some at Fox News, however, is that Wednesday’s events are only the beginning. “There’s more to come,” one Fox News insider told me, suggesting that there are more women with stories of harassment who have not come forward publicly. This estimation was affirmed by two people who heard such stories directly. Others are equally concerned about the attention that is being drawn to 21st Century Fox’s handling of the allegations by women inside the company.

Rupert Murdoch spent part of Wednesday trying to allay fears within his organization. In an internal memo, he told his colleagues, “Most importantly, we want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect.” But not everyone in the Fox News orbit is prepared to move forward just yet. Nancy Erika Smith, who represented Gretchen Carlson and Julie Roginsky in their suits against Ailes, appears willing to fight on. “A couple of men close to retirement got pushed into retirement early with a whole lot of money,” she said in a statement. “Until Fox News releases every woman from confidentiality and arbitration agreements and until they get rid of the executives who enabled the harassment, the workplace will not be safe for women.”

FNC Slots New Post-O’Reilly Schedule…

Posted in FNC on April 19, 2017 by icn2

FNC was quick to clear up any schedule speculation about a post-O’Reilly era…

5pm New Eric Bolling show (starts May 1)
7pm The Story with Martha McCallum (starts May 1)
8pm Tucker Carlson Tonight (Live)
9pm The Five (Live)
10pm Hannity

This is probably the best possible outcome for FNC.

O’Reilly Gone…

Posted in FNC on April 19, 2017 by icn2

21st Century Fox issued a statement severing ties with O’Reilly…

After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel

The wording of this statement is important…not for today’s dismissal but for how it reflects badly on 21st Century Fox’s original statement to the New York Times 18 days ago…

“21st Century Fox takes matters of workplace behavior very seriously,” the statement said. “Notwithstanding the fact that no current or former Fox News employee ever took advantage of the 21st Century Fox hotline to raise a concern about Bill O’Reilly, even anonymously, we have looked into these matters over the last few months and discussed them with Mr. O’Reilly. While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility. Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.”

The original statement implies that the company did its due diligence on O’Reilly already and was satisfied with where things stood.

That is a total 180 from today’s statement which implies that the company did its due diligence on O’Reilly and was not satisfied with where things stood.

The two statements are in direct conflict with one another.

Something does not add up. Either 21st Century Fox did not do its due diligence on O’Reilly already or somehow bungled it which incorrectly led them to think things were fine…or…they did do it and decided to stand by O’Reilly despite all the details of the investigation but later on as the heat was turned up reversed themselves under the guise of doing a new investigation (which presumably would not have turned up anything new had the earlier investigation been exacting).

If it’s the former…that’s on Bill Shine and Company.

If it’s the latter…that’s still on Bill Shine and Company.

Bill Shine and Company need to answer some questions.

More O’Reilly…

Posted in FNC on April 19, 2017 by icn2

New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman has new information on the apparently impending exit of Bill O’Reilly.

Wednesday morning, according to sources, executives are holding emergency meetings to discuss how they can sever the relationship with the country’s highest-rated cable-news host without causing collateral damage to the network. The board of Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, is scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the matter.

Sources briefed on the discussions say O’Reilly’s exit negotiations are moving quickly. Right now, a key issue on the table is whether he would be allowed to say good-bye to his audience, perhaps the most loyal in all of cable (O’Reilly’s ratings have ticked up during the sexual-harassment allegations). Fox executives are leaning against allowing him to have a sign-off, sources say. The other main issue on the table is money. O’Reilly recently signed a new multiyear contract worth more than $20 million per year. When Roger Ailes left Fox News last summer, the Murdochs paid out $40 million, the remainder of his contract.

This amounts to a wholesale cave job by FNC. They knew what they had in O’Reilly and they chose to stand by him all these years. Now a little bit of advertiser pressure spurned on by the usual suspects who never liked O’Reilly to begin with…and poof! Their spines disappeared.

Look, I am NO fan of O’Reilly. He’s been bad for cable news (though good for ratings). But let’s be honest. He’s just become the latest convenient fall guy for what appears to be an institutional problem that goes straight to the top of the network…a problem that replacing Roger Ailes obviously has not fixed.

O’Reilly To Leave FNC?

Posted in FNC on April 18, 2017 by icn2

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.