TV Odds: O’Reilly’s Future after Fox Ouster

Bill O'Reilly answers an audience question
Justin Hoch (flickr)[http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0]

Vitriolic hate-monger … I mean “political pundit” … Bill O’Reilly was let go by Fox News today. The longtime host of The O’Reilly Factor was dismissed after it came to light that he and Fox News had paid out at least $13 million to settle sexual harassment allegations brought by five different women.

Fox is moving on quickly. The network has already confirmed that O’Reilly’s timeslot will be assumed by oversized bowtie pasta noodle Tucker Carlson. What lies ahead for O’Reilly is a lot less certain. He’s been the most successful political commentator of the last twenty years, in terms of viewership. But he’s also incredibly toxic at the moment.

Will another network take a chance on him? Almost certainly. Sexual misconduct allegations were no barrier to Trump’s trek to the White House; it would be naive to think they’ll end O’Reilly’s career. If he wants to be on TV again, it’s just a matter of time.

Maybe he’ll do the world a favor and let these allegations play him out. But I doubt it. Egomaniacs tend to like the spotlight.

Below are the odds on when and where “Poppa Bear” will pop-up after this imposed hibernation.

Odds on Bill O’Reilly’s Next Move

Odds O’Reilly hosts a new TV show in 2017: 1/1

As I already said, he’s going to land a new hosting gig if he wants it, unless some truly sordid new details come out. But this prop even money because networks will want the controversy to ebb before bringing him in, and it takes some time to get a new TV show off the ground, even the thoughtless type hosted by O’Reilly.

Odds O’Reilly’s next TV show will be on …

Newsmax: 7/2
One America News: 4/1
CNN: 25/1
MSNBC: 999/1
FIELD: 4/5

Fledgling networks One America News and Newsmax both have a conservative bent. One America News isn’t shy about hiring controversial figures, already bringing in alleged batterer and confirmed grabber-er Corey Lewandowski. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy told CNN that he’d be interested in talking to O’Reilly and dubbed him a man of “unparalleled and unchallenged talent” who’s “still a hot commodity.”

CNN doesn’t have the entrenched conservative ideology that would mesh with O’Reilly’s own dogma. But they’ve also been losing the ratings war for ages, and it’s not nearly as left-leaning as MSNBC, which would sooner go dark than let O’Reilly contaminate its airwaves.

Odds O’Reilly ever works for Fox News again: 8/1

This is a longshot. He’s been one of their biggest money-makers ever. They wouldn’t have let him go unless they were sure they didn’t want or need his services. Never say never, of course, especially if O’Reilly successfully challenges the allegations. But it’s reasonable to assume the allegations are pretty damning given the tack taken by 21st Century Fox after its own investigation.

Odds O’Reilly writes a book about his time at Fox: 2/3

Bill is a prolific writer, to say the least. While he mostly writes on presidents and war, he’s also gone auto-biographical in the past (see 2008’s A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity; on second thought, don’t “see” it, just know it exists). A book focused on his scandalous departure from Fox would bring in a ton of coin.