Bill O’Reilly, conservative pundit and former Fox News anchor, is one of the most popular commentators in cable news history. In fact, his twenty season-long show, The O’Reilly Factor, was the most watched cable news show for 106 consecutive weeks back in 2009. The prime time show was canceled and O’Reilly’s employment at Fox News was terminated in April after several accusations of sexual harassment were settled in court. Since then, Bill has remained mostly unheard of or silent, with a few peeps here and there from his podcasts, his twitter, and a couple of guest appearances on Glenn Beck’s radio program.
New reports, however, are saying that Bill is not ready to give up his spot as a prominent conservative analyst. According to Chris Enloe at The Blaze, O’Reilly wants to join forces with current Fox News star Sean Hannity on a new television network.
Gabriel Sherman, a journalist for New York Magazine that is very familiar with the matter, says that O’Reilly is trying to convince Hannity to join Sinclair Broadcasting, a right-wing news network with a large and rapidly growing audience. Sherman, who regularly appears on MSNBC’s AM Joy, said the following on Reid’s show: “My sources in and around Fox say that [Hannity] and Bill O’Reilly are potentially in talks to take their shows to Sinclair,” and “Bill O’Reilly has wanted to get back into the game.” Sherman went to twitter later that day to add that O’Reilly is also in talks with Newsmax TV. You can watch the exchange below.
Currently the only major right-wing TV source is Fox News, but if Sinclair (or Newsmax) is able to draw two of the largest republican television stars we may see a major change in cable news. Unlike conservative media on television, liberal media is abundant – CNN, MSNBC, NBC, CBS, ABC and even Comedy Central (later at night) are all popular channels with a clear leftist bias. This move, if it were to happen, would likely shake up what we know about conservatism on television.
This change, however, most likely will not happen. There is high reason to doubt that Sean Hannity would leave Fox News. First off, why would he? As of May 2017, Hannity is the fourth-most watched cable news show only behind Fox News’s Tucker Carlson Tonight and The Five (first and third), and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show.
It is also import to note that Hannity’s show falls at 10:00 PM EST. Hannity follows up a blazing hot Tucker Carlson at 8PM, and the third ranked cable news show The Five at 9PM. This means that some, if not most, of Hannity’s popularity comes from people continuing to watch the channel after Tucker and/or The Five. His time slot gives his ratings a boost, and I doubt he would want to give that up. And although following up Bill O’Reilly may help his ratings as well, it is doubtful it will match what he currently has going for him.
Sherman also said that he is dubious of the move because there is a past of tension between Bill and Sean.
As of now nothing is official and this is all just speculation. However, a move this big would change a lot.