Bill O’Reilly for 20 years has been one of Fox News’s most successful hosts. That past success couldn’t save O’Reilly from the current pressures and tensions O’Reilly created at Fox. Today, the conservative-leaning news outlet decided to cut bait and dismiss O’Reilly.
According to former Rand Paul campaign advisor and Condoleezza Rice’s speech writer, Elise Jordan, O’Reilly has been long feared in the Fox Newsroom but his high ratings and vengeful nature kept people at bay. Recent lawsuits and the loss of advertisers changed the equation and Fox decided it was time to part ways.
Gretchen Carlson, who sued and settled with former Fox Chief Roger Ailes is also considered to be a big factor in the move to fire O’Reilly.
Some at Fox believed that the recent controversies would “just go away” but as time went on, they didn’t. Despite O’Reilly’s ratings actually going up during the controversies, the advertising exodus eventually became the driving factor. Yes, it seems to be all about the money. On the other hand, activists may take this as a cue for future campaigns and where to put their efforts. In this case, it seems that women, who actually control the spending in the majority of American households, had their voices heard by advertisers who need their business more than they needed Bill O’Reilly on the air.
Fox, in a statement explaining that O’Reilly has been fired, said that “after “careful review” of sexual harassment allegations, Bill O’Reilly won’t be returning.”
Where O’Reilly will go from here is anybody’s guess. Who will replace O’Reilly in his prime time spot is also a mystery. He is 67 years old. It is doubtful that he will go to one of the other big cable networks like CNN or MSNBC. That does not mean that we have seen the last of O’Reilly. He could follow in the footsteps of rival Keith Olbermann and go to a more “social media friendly” format or join one of the right-leaning networks like Newsmax or One America News and bring a very large audience with him.
The now former Fox host has been vacationing in Italy while Fox contemplated his future. Today, a picture circulated featuring him shaking hands with Pope Francis in a V.I.P. line at the Vatican. Apparently, not even the Pope’s blessing could overcome the wills of stockholders and advertisers and stop Bill from being fired.
Check out the breaking story and some analysis on Katy Tur’s program below:
UPDATE: Fox has announced that Tucker Carlson will take over O’Reilly’s 8 pm eastern time slot.
Featured image via screen capture from youtube.com