What Will Bill O'Reilly Do Now? Post-Fox News, He May Still Be A Hot Commodity
Following a series of sexual harassment allegations against him, Fox News announced on Wednesday that it would be terminating its relationship with Bill O'Reilly, its prime-time anchor and host of The O'Reilly Factor. (O'Reilly has repeatedly denied all claims of harassment.) “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,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement. Fox has been under a lot of pressure to let O'Reilly go, but now that it has come to pass, what will O'Reilly do next?
According to the Hill's Joe Concha and U.S. News' James Warren, it's unlikely that O'Reilly will find himself on MSNBC. But if he were to be picked up by CNN — also unlikely — he could serve as a direct competitor to Fox News. Given that Megyn Kelly had raised sexual harassment allegations against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes before leaving the company altogether (Ailes said at the time he "denies her allegations of sexual harassment or misconduct of any kind"), we probably won't see O'Reilly joining her at NBC News, either.
Most news organizations would probably be hesitant about hiring O'Reilly, considering the string of high-profile allegations, and their female employees could likely raise the same concerns that those at Fox News did.
However, it's also unlikely that O'Reilly will disappear from the limelight. Some analysts have estimated that his show raked in $325 million in ad revenue during 2015-2016, and losing more advertisers will undoubtedly be a blow to the company, despite Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson taking over O'Reilly's 8 p.m. slot. Given O'Reilly's notoriety and high viewership, there may be conservative media outlets that would love to have him — Concha suggests Newsmax and One America News Network as possibilities. But Concha also recognizes that independent companies with lower viewership than Fox News might not be able to pay O'Reilly what he would typically ask for. His latest contract with Fox News earned him roughly $18 million.
O'Reilly also already has plenty to do when he's not on air. He has written books and done promotions for them, and has even tried stand-up comedy. But being fired from his Fox News job will be a big setback in his career. At 67 years old, O'Reilly could decide to step back and weigh his next options, or even retire. But looking back at his career, I am almost certain that we have not seen the last of him.