With Fox News Channel mainstay Bill O’Reilly still in the midst of his vacation from “The O’Reilly Factor,” a new report by New York Magazine cites sources saying the Murdochs, who control Fox News, “are leaning toward announcing that O’Reilly will not return to the air.”
The report by Roger Ailes biographer Gabriel Sherman cites three unnamed sources with knowledge of discussions about O’Reilly’s future at Fox News. “Sons James and Lachlan have been arguing that O’Reilly needs to go, say these sources, though their father, Rupert, has resisted that outcome,” the story reports.
“The prospect of dumping O’Reilly — once unimaginable — has gained steam this week due in part to street protests outside Fox News headquarters and advertiser boycotts on O’Reilly’s air,” the story reports. “One network insider said Fox executives are alarmed by the severity of the ad-revenue decline.”
Sherman quotes the insider saying, “It’s worse than Glenn Beck,” a reference to an advertiser revolt that contributed to Beck’s downfall at Fox back in 2011.
“Another factor: the Murdochs’ pending $14 billion takeover of European pay-TV provider Sky,” Sherman notes. “On May 16, the British media regulator Ofcom is set to judge whether the Murdochs are ‘fit and proper’ to own such a large media property. Removing O’Reilly could appease critics and help close the Sky deal. (In 2011, the Murdochs abandoned their initial takeover offer for Sky after the London phone-hacking scandal.)”