As we reported yesterday, there’s plenty of speculation Bill O’Reilly’s Tuesday show was his last. He had announced on air he would be taking a vacation for Easter, and while he always takes off for the Easter holiday, it seemed bizarre he’d begin on a Wednesday. The vacation also came as his show’s been under enormous pressure following a New York Times report on April 1st disclosing O’Reilly and Fox paid $13 million to five woman as settlements for sexual harassment complaints.
A majority of advertisers pulled their ads from his show following the revelation, with the show down to only seven advertisers (previously at 33). According to New York Mag, there were four network sources saying there’s talk inside Fox News that Tuesday’s show was his last.
The verdict is in, and for the meantime, he’ll be on the air — just less. According to The Hill:
“The O’Reilly Factor” has reportedly been scaled back from five days a week to four, as Fox News host Bill O’Reilly deals with the fallout from a report of sexual harassment allegations against him.
Politico reported on Thursday that O’Reilly’s program will air Mondays through Thursdays, with different programming at the end of the work week.
Over the past few months, O’Reilly hosted his Friday program only twice — last Friday and Inauguration Day back in January. Other Fox hosts such as Bret Baier, Eric Bolling, Chris Wallace and Jesse Watters have filled in for him.
Although unannounced, Fox News is reportedly planning a spinoff show called “Friday Factor,” which would feature a rotating lineup of hosts to fill O’Reilly’s chair.
A Fox spokesperson told the newspaper that “Friday Factor” has been the name in the television listings for the past few weeks, although the show’s format — including logo and opening — have not changed.
The gesture seems more symbolic than anything, because O’Reilly didn’t host his Friday shows anyway. Fox didn’t respond to any requests for comment from Politico as to whether or not the Friday show will be differentiated from the Monday-Thursday O’Reilly Factor.
While O’Reilly is still on the air, this could be the beginning of the end nonetheless. According to the New York Times, the Murdochs are awaiting results of an investigation into O’Reilly’s conduct before making a more permanent decision. Until then we won’t know if he’ll be staying on the air — or if his next book will be titled “Killing The O’Reilly Factor.”
[Note: This post was written by Matt Palumbo. Follow him on Twitter @MattPalumbo12]