Disgraced news anchor Bill O’Reilly could be making a cable TV comeback
Former Fox News anchor and pundit Bill O’Reilly could be returning to cable TV. The ex-host is reportedly in "advanced" talks with Newsmax TV, a conservative network owned by Newsmax Media, to host a new show at his old time slot of 8pm. Newsmax media is owned by Christopher Ruddy; a prominent conservative and early donor to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Newsmax is also apparently angling to recruit other Fox News alumni, such as Greta Van Susteren and Eric Bolling, as well as former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who resigned from his post on August 31, 2017.
A source allegedly told celebrity gossip site Page Six: "The deals are not done yet, but talks are in the advanced stages ... The thinking is, following a 6pm news show, Greta would anchor the 7 pm hour, O’Reilly would be back at 8 pm, and Bolling could smoothly continue on at 9 pm. Spicer and his cohorts would go on at 10 pm, with the later slot allowing the show to be looser. But the deals are not yet signed and sealed."
O'Reilly's career went into a tailspin last year after the New York Times investigated allegations of sexual misconduct made against him by several former colleagues. The newspaper revealed that Fox News hosts Rebecca Diamond and Laurie Dhue had both settled sexual harassment lawsuits in 2011 and 2016 respectively, and that junior producer Rachel Witlieb Bernstein had settled with the broadcasting corporation in 2002 after accusing O'Reilly of verbally abusing her.
All told, Fox shelled out more than $13 million in settlements to pay off O'Reilly's accusers. The report also alleged that O'Reilly had invited Wendy Walsh, a guest on his talk show, to his hotel suite. Walsh declined O'Reilly's solicitations and was subsequently denied a position as a Fox News contributor.
Following this explosion of negative publicity, a number of advertisers decided to pull from the network, and on social media, the backlash against O'Reilly was intense enough to prompt calls for his resignation. On April 11, O'Reilly took a two-week vacation, intending to return to Fox on April 24, but on April 19 he was fired, and The O'Reilly Factor was subsequently renamed The Factor, airing its last episode on April 21.
Many American conservatives miss O'Reilly's bombastic, combative segments, but others feel that the 68-year-old has fallen irrevocably out of favour. Only time will tell whether or not the public is willing to welcome him back onto their screens.