clear
Friday July 21st, 2017 12:41AM
1:45PM ( 10 hours ago ) Weather Alert

O'Reilly's departure creates new challenges for Fox

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW YORK (AP) — With its biggest star departing in another blowup over sexual harassment, Fox News faces some big challenges. It now has to show that it can hang on to its loyal army of conservative viewers, improve its working culture, and still continue to make big bucks for its corporate parent.

The company said Wednesday that it had parted ways with longtime host Bill O'Reilly after a "thorough and careful review of allegations against him." Dozens of advertisers ditched "The O'Reilly Factor" after a New York Times report detailed $13 million in payouts to five women over his alleged abusive behavior; more allegations subsequently emerged. (O'Reilly denied the accusations.)

O'Reilly's departure is the second big blow for conservatives' favorite news network in nine months. Fox's longtime CEO Roger Ailes resigned abruptly amid similar sexual harassment charges last July. Its leading female star, Megyn Kelly, also decamped for NBC in January.

The network's parent company, entertainment giant 21st Century Fox, insisted that Fox News will weather the current storm, noting in a statement the "strength of its talent bench" and expressing "full confidence that the network will continue to be a powerhouse in cable news."

That certainly could happen, though it probably won't be easy.

MONEY MACHINE

Some analysts believe that James and Lachlan Murdoch — the sons of 21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch — made the call on O'Reilly to change the Ailesian culture at the network and to cement their control following his departure.

"Getting rid of the old guard is a way to do that," said Dan Cassino, a professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University and the author of "Fox News & American Politics: How One Channel Shapes American Politics & Society."

But O'Reilly has been on Fox News for more than two decades. "The O'Reilly Factor" has generated a huge ad bonanza for Fox, one that yielded more than $178 million in 2015. It's the top-rated show on the No. 1 cable network — one that, according to the investment bank Nomura's estimates, accounts for fully 20 percent of profits at 21st Century Fox.

Now, the top ratings for O'Reilly's time slot — and Fox's other prime-time shows — could be at risk. "He's been the linchpin" of the lineup, said Jane Hall, an American University professor and former Fox contributor, who noted that it will take a while to see whether his loyal audience sticks with O'Reilly's replacement.

That will be Tucker Carlson, whose show is moving to the 8 p.m. slot on Fox. O'Reilly's ratings overshadow Carlson's, and his show's viewership fell this week while he was on vacation and other Fox hosts subbed in.

Others figure that O'Reilly's firing won't be a sticking point for most Fox viewers. "When we look at data, at what programs people report watching, you just don't find people who watch Bill O'Reilly and nothing else on Fox," Cassino said.

Fox also has a big financial safety cushion in the fees cable companies pay the network, which dwarf its ad revenue, according to Nomura media analyst Anthony DiClemente. Even if there's some disruption in ad rates or spots, he said, there's a "massive backstop" in those payments, which are long-term deals.

BROADER AMBITIONS

Fox might also have found it financially risky let O'Reilly remain. Otherwise, the network risked developing "a reputation as unfriendly to women, potentially turning off a lot of people," said Charles Taylor, a marketing professor at Villanova University. Advertisers may have been reluctant to return if there were continuing harassment complaints. It could also have alienated employees.

And 21st Century Fox is much bigger than O'Reilly, Fox News and its aging, conservative audience. It's home to movie and TV studios; a slew of sports and other cable channels; and the Fox broadcast network and shows like "The Simpsons," ''Family Guy," and its latest hit, "Empire."

It's also home to ambitions that the O'Reilly crisis may have hindered. Fox owns 39 percent of European TV giant Sky, and has long wanted to take over the whole company. Its previous effort died in 2011, a casualty of the phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers. It's now trying again, although a U.K. media regulator must certify that the combined company would be a "fit and proper" owner of the broadcaster.

"Credit to James and Lachlan for doing the right thing here," said DiClemente, who noted that dealing with the O'Reilly controversy "in the right way" could be helpful for the Sky review.

The U.S. Attorney's office in New York is investigating how 21st Century Fox handled the Roger Ailes scandal. Concern over whether Fox broke the law by failing to disclose its settlements to investors is more likely to impact approval than whether the company is mired in sexual misconduct allegations, said Claire Enders of Enders Analysis, who has studied the Murdoch empire for years.

TALKING CULTURE CHANGE

When it announced Ailes' departure last summer, 21st Century Fox said that it would "continue our commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect." But the New York Times reported that two of the O'Reilly settlements were reached after Ailes left.

In a Wednesday memo to employees signed by all three Murdochs and provided to The Associated Press, Fox again emphasized its commitment to a workplace culture of "trust and respect." The company is making "a pretty big statement" to that effect by dropping O'Reilly, said Hall, the American University professor.

Longtime Fox critics don't see it. Fox News has a "culture of harassment that did not start and does not end with Bill O'Reilly," said Rashad Robinson, executive director of the activist group Color of Change, which pressured advertisers to leave his show. Ousting O'Reilly, he said, "does not speak to a changed culture. It speaks to a company that has recognized that the best business decision for them is to end their relationship with Bill O'Reilly."

__

Jill Lawless from London contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Entertainment, AP Online TV News, AP Business, AP Business - Careers
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Obama warned Trump about Flynn, former officials say
Former officials say President Barack Obama warned Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn as national security adviser during an Oval Office meeting in the days after the 2016 election
11:59AM ( 23 minutes ago )
The Latest: Obama said to have warned Trump about Flynn
President Barack Obama warned Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn as national security adviser in the days after the 2016 election. That's according to three former Obama administration officials.
11:33AM ( 49 minutes ago )
General Electric breaks ground at new Boston site
General Electric has broken ground on its new Boston headquarters, another step in the company's digital transformation
11:25AM ( 57 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: France's Macron got 10M more votes than Le Pen
Final results from the French presidential election show that winner Emmanuel Macron received 10 million more votes than far-right rival Marine Le Pen
10:43AM ( 1 hour ago )
Fired by Trump, former acting AG to testify on Russia
President Donald Trump is distancing himself from Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, ahead of a highly anticipated congressional hearing on Russia.
10:42AM ( 1 hour ago )
Trump's revised travel ban goes before federal appeals court
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will examine a ruling that blocks the Trump administration from temporarily barring new visas for citizens from six Muslim-majority countries
10:35AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Let's play 2: Yankees beat Cubs 5-4 in 18 innings
Into the night: Yankees beat Cubs 5-4 in 18 in majors' longest interleague game by innings
9:28AM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump distances himself from Flynn ahead of hearing
President Donald Trump is distancing himself from Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, ahead of a highly anticipated congressional hearing on Russia.
9:24AM ( 2 hours ago )
Trump's travel ban goes before federal appeals court
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will examine a ruling that blocks the Trump administration from temporarily barring new visas for citizens from six Muslim-majority countries
9:10AM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online National News
Chipping away at EU: Banksy's take on Brexit seen in Dover
Street artist Banksy has produced a large mural showing a workman chipping away one of the 12 stars on the European Union flag
7:59AM ( 4 hours ago )
10 Things to Know for Today
Among 10 Things to Know: French president-elect Macron gears for transition _ as do rivals; AP: Sex assaults in high school sports minimized as 'hazing'; Appeals court to weigh challenge to revised Trump travel ban
5:52AM ( 6 hours ago )
Appeals court to weigh challenge to revised Trump travel ban
A federal appeals court will hear arguments over President Donald Trump's travel ban targeting six-Muslim majority countries
5:46AM ( 6 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Martha Stewart flashes middle finger toward Trump portrait
Martha Stewart has given a glimpse of on her feelings toward her former reality TV rival, President Donald Trump, by showing a middle finger gesture toward a Trump portrait at a New York art fair Saturday.
9:51AM ( 2 hours ago )
Jay Z, Chili Peppers to headline Meadows Festival in NYC
Jay Z is set to headline this September's Meadows Festival in New York.
9:03AM ( 3 hours ago )
Emma Watson praises genderless MTV Awards after 'Beauty' win
Emma Watson had high praise for MTV's move to remove gender qualifiers for its Movie and TV Awards handed out on Sunday night
8:10AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Entertainment
MTV heralds summer viewing season with its Movie & TV Awards
Despite glowering skies and dime-size hail stones, MTV is heralding the start of the summer viewing season with its Movie & TV Awards
7:51PM ( 16 hours ago )
MTV celebrates summer viewing season with Movie & TV Awards
MTV is heralding the start of summer viewing season with its Movie & TV Awards
6:59PM ( 17 hours ago )
The Latest: Always Dreaming wins Kentucky Derby in slop
Always Dreaming has unofficially won the 143rd Kentucky Derby
7:13PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online TV News
Comcast, Charter to cooperate as threats from wireless grow
Comcast and Charter Communications say they're working together as they advance plans to offer wireless services
11:02AM ( 1 hour ago )
In the bag: Coach buying Kate Spade for $2.4 billion
In the bag: Coach spends $2.4 billion for Kate Spade, with an eye on its younger customers
11:00AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Merkel is happy that France's Macron won
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she is "very happy" that Emmanuel Macron has won the French presidential election in France, but she took a "wait and see" position on his economic reform plans.
9:38AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP Business
US jobs data show some scars from recession finally healing
US jobs data show some scars from recession finally healing
4:48PM ( 2 days ago )
US jobs report points to a healthy drop in underemployment
US jobs report for April points to a healthy drop in underemployment
3:03PM ( 2 days ago )
Border Patrol hits fairs, rodeos in zealous recruiting bid
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is casting a wide net in its search for new Border Patrol agents and customs officers
2:29PM ( 4 days ago )
AP Business - Careers
Obama warned Trump about Flynn, former officials say
Former officials say President Barack Obama warned Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn as national security adviser during an Oval Office meeting in the days after the 2016 election
11:59AM ( 23 minutes ago )
The Latest: Obama said to have warned Trump about Flynn
President Barack Obama warned Donald Trump against hiring Michael Flynn as national security adviser in the days after the 2016 election. That's according to three former Obama administration officials.
11:33AM ( 49 minutes ago )
General Electric breaks ground at new Boston site
General Electric has broken ground on its new Boston headquarters, another step in the company's digital transformation
11:25AM ( 57 minutes ago )
Tiara adorned with 367 diamonds stolen from German museum
German police say a gold-and-platinum tiara adorned with 367 diamonds that once belonged to a duchess has been stolen from a state museum
11:10AM ( 1 hour ago )
Syrian FM: No international force for Syria safe zones
Syrian foreign minister dismisses idea of foreign forces patrolling safe zones under deal struck by Russia, Iran, Turkey
11:09AM ( 1 hour ago )