Sunday, April 23, 2017

Bill O'Reilly out at Fox News: What it means (updated)

UPDATE: As I predicted or at least hoped, Bill O'Reilly has moved his daily show to the online world. From Breitbart:
Bill O’Reilly will return to the airwaves six days after his departure from Fox News with a new podcast episode set to air Monday on his website.

O’Reilly’s “No Spin News” will air Monday, April 24 at 7 p.m. Eastern, according to a promotional graphic posted to his website Sunday.
I'll be curious to see how the show evolves, and whether the podcast becomes an actual online TV production supported by apps that work on various devices. I think it will depend on how well it takes off, and my hunch is that it'll grow in popularity very quickly.

In any event, the corporate bullies didn't shut O'Reilly up. They just hastened his move to where everyone is going anyway.

Original post
Bill O'Reilly and Fox News are parting ways. From Breitbart:
Fox News has officially cut ties with Bill O’Reilly. Through the network’s parent company 21st Century Fox, the Murdochs issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon: “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

In another statement released on Wednesday, the network announced that the new primetime line-up will be Eric Bolling at 5pm; Martha MacCallum at 7pm; Tucker Carlson at O’Reilly’s old 8pm timeslot; The Five with co-hosts Kimberly Guilfoyle, Dana Perino, Bob Beckel, Greg Gutfeld, Jesse Watter, and Juan Williams at 9pm; and Sean Hannity will remain at 10pm.
For the record, I don't have cable, so I don't get Fox News except for an audio-only feed on SiriusXM. But Fox News is generous on YouTube with clips and highlights of shows, including virtually every segment from the primetime shows.

I've been hoping O'Reilly would retire this year, although not because of anything related to sexual harassment allegations. As Paul Mirengoff at PowerLine demonstrates, the allegations are a stretch of the imagination, to say the least. I've just felt that O'Reilly's show has gotten to be an old and tired showcase for millionaire Fox News insiders. I mean, how many times can you lead off with Charles Krauthammer's take on the day's events? And as such, from a marketing standpoint, I think Fox News is trying to get younger, both internally and on the air. The median age of a primetime Fox News viewer is 68.

That said, certainly not all of Fox News' success over the last 14 years can be attributed to senior citizens, and this has the stench of a corporate elites' coup. Left-wing movers and shakers lined up some accusers to whisper to their friends at the New York Times, which led to some multinational corporations putting pressure on the network to dump O'Reilly, and it was done quickly. How would you like to come back from vacation and find out you don't have a job?

This episode should tell you two things. One, the Fox News that we all knew, the one that revolutionized the TV news business, is dead. They are becoming just another major corporate news outlet, just like the others, as they continue to purge the people that put them on the map and made them popular. I think Sean Hannity will be next, somehow. Secondly, and this is important: it's a front-and-center example of how these cable networks could care less about viewership. O'Reilly's ratings are at an all-time high, and it's far and away the No. 1 show. But Fox is guaranteed income from tens of millions of American cable subscribers no matter what they do with their lineup. And it's the cable subscriptions that attract the national advertisers, not the ratings.

For those of us who'd like to see consumers break the stranglehold that these multinational corporations have had on the media landscape because of bundled cable, the good news in all of this is that for many people, Fox News has just taken away their last reason for subscribing to cable. I hope O'Reilly starts his own online show a la Glenn Beck and Mark Levin. I'll test-drive a subscription if he does.

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