Gruber: O’Reilly Factored Out
Bill O’Reilly has been the king of cable news for more than 15 years but today the Fox News Channel firebrand is out.
O’Reilly is by far the biggest star in cable news and his shocking and sudden exit comes amid a flurry of allegations that he has been involved in numerous sexual harassment situations that the network was forced to address. The New York Times reported April 1st that 21st Century Fox had paid at least $13 million dollars to 5 women who accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment during his time at the network. Advertisers fled the program in droves over the past couple of weeks. As many as 90 companies pulled commercials from The O’Reilly Factor and O’Reilly himself fled to Italy for a ‘vacation’. He was photographed on Wednesday shaking the Pope’s hand but even divine intervention wasn’t enough to stop his amazing fall from grace.
Fox News moved quickly to fill the gaping hole in it’s primetime lineup. Several reports indicate Tucker Carlson will move to the coveted 8 O’clock timeslot and The Five will relocate to the 9pm position. Sean Hannity will remain where he has been at 10pm.
It is the third high profile loss for Fox in recent memory. Megyn Kelly who followed The O’Reilly Factor for years left the network following another high profile sexual harassment investigation involving Roger Ailes. Ailes was forced out of Fox News 9 months ago. Kelly exited in December and accepted a new position with NBC but has not yet been on the network.
This will bring pleasure to other cable news providers like CNN and MSNBC who have lived in O’Reilly’s ratings shadow for a decade and a half. O’Reilly has dominated cable news ratings since shortly after 9-11. His was an incredible run for sure. It does prove however that no matter who you are and no matter how untouchable you think you may be you are never ‘too big to fall’. In fact the decision to drop O’Reilly comes just a few months after he signed a $20 million dollar a year contract.
There is no word yet on how much money Fox may have to put into O’Reilly’s pocket to pull out of the current contract.
Stay tuned because I am sure the 67-year-old O’Reilly will surface somewhere and it won’t take too long for someone to figure out he has star power and will draw an audience. He may have left Fox News but Elvis has not left the building.