by Michael O’Connell | The Hollywood Reporter | 2055 19 April 2017
“O’Reilly has a history of swinging back hard. He’ll do what he does and what Trump does — and that is to say that this is all a witch hunt.”
Bill O’Reilly is down, but not likely out. The ratings king of cable news, dethroned by his sexual harassment scandal, still had a devoted nightly audience of nearly 4 million viewers when he signed off of his final Fox News telecast on April 11. That means he has options.
Terms of the former O’Reilly Factor host’s exit agreement aren’t yet known, but a non-compete clause will be among them. And a minimum six months is standard in news media — not that any of Fox News’ direct competitors will likely touch the fiery conservative commentator. O’Reilly saw more than 50 advertisers flee after numerous settled cases of workplace harassment came to light, ultimately ushering in his exit after two decades on the network. No, experts suggest that future opportunities for O’Reilly will be found just outside the glow of traditional limelight: on the radio, with an over-the-top platform or in his lucrative and pre-existing publishing career.
“He can probably recover if he changes the basic persona that’s been the source of his success,” observes Lanny Davis, a Democratic strategist and crisis manager who worked with O’Reilly in the past. “Is that likely? I don’t think so. But If he stays with his current persona, he can certainly have a future with a specific audience.”