It appears The Spin Zone over at Fox News Channel has spun out of control due to allegations of sexual harassment by its number one rated talent. After a twenty-one-year run, the final Talking Point for Bill O’Reilly may have been written for him rather than by him at Fox.
Two days ago, on his number one rated cable news show, The Factor, O’Reilly announced he was taking a preplanned, and much needed, vacation assuring his stalwart viewers of his return April 24. The mid-town Manhattan jungle drum, however, beats an entirely different story.
An internal battle of wills at 21st Century Fox, the parent company of Fox News, has raged for weeks between Rupert Murdoch, wishing to keep his golden goose, and his two sons, Lachlan and James, intending to unseat the king of cable news. It now appears the younger generation has triumphed:
Wednesday morning, according to sources, executives … discuss[ed] how they can sever the relationship with the country’s highest-rated cable news host without causing collateral damage to the network. The board of Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, is scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the matter.
It is no easy feat, removing O’Reilly from his Fox News throne, and his popularity with his fan base is cause for great concern—The Factor has over three million viewers per night, putting to shame all other prime time hosts. Three million angry ‘No Spin Zone-ees’ could have 21st Century Fox spin doctors scrambling to halt a mass exodus. The embattled Murdoch family now face quite a sticky wicket:
Sources briefed on the discussions say O’Reilly’s exit negotiations are moving quickly. Right now, a key issue on the table is whether he would be allowed to say goodbye to his audience, perhaps the most loyal in all of cable (O’Reilly’s ratings have ticked up during the sexual-harassment allegations). Fox executives are leaning against allowing him to have a sign-off, sources say. The other main issue on the table is money. O’Reilly recently signed a new multiyear contract worth more than $20 million per year.
There will soon be a missive on the fate of O’Reilly as meetings with the board of 21st Century Fox are scheduled for April 20. It is doubtful that he will survive, although stranger things have happened in TV land, so we stay tuned for the next episode.
By all accounts, Fox has survived a year few networks are capable of sustaining. Gretchen Carlson filed suit, Megyn Kelly left the prime-time line-up, followed by the swift exit of Roger Ailes from the ivory towers by the Murdoch media cartel. The powers that be at Fox didn’t hesitate this time in their response to sexual harassment allegations against O’Reilly. It seems the hostile work environment and the piggish attitudes of the good ole boys over at Fox will no longer be tolerated over at the number one rated cable channel
The termination of Bill O’Reilly might be the last word written in this short chapter for Fox News but be aware, Fox will go on with or without their golden goose. Zone-ees, fear not for Mr. Bill, your loveable old curmudgeon has an estimated net worth of over $100 million dollars. He will likely find another ivory tower to hold court and in which to pen his next best seller and memoir, The Killing of O’Reilly.