Fox News headliner Bill O’Reilly stated in an interview published on Thursday that the decision to leave his top-rated show would be a “complicated” one, but one in he is willing to make.
The entertainment site Deadline asked O’Reilly in light of just crossing the 20 year mark of being on FNC and a string of best-selling books, “Do you think, ‘I’m at the top of my game; this would be perfect time to exit?’”
The O’Reilly Factor host replied, “Well, I don’t look at it that way because it’s a matter of whether I think that continuing the books and the TV show is a positive for me in my life and also, for all the people who work for me. I have to think about them too, so it’s a complicated decision.”
“Certainly, it’s not like it was 10 years ago that’s for sure. If I feel that it’s too much and I don’t want to do this kind of work, I don’t want to work this hard, then I’ll walk away,” he added.
Deadline followed up: “So, as of yet, you haven’t determined which way you’re going to go on that one?”
“No, because there are a lot of factors involved with it. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens,” O’Reilly replied. His contract expires at the end of 2017.
As reported by Western Journalism, The O’Reilly Factor remains the top-rated program on cable news, drawing an average of over 3 million viewers a night for the 8 p.m. Eastern Time slot.
The program has been on the air since 1996 and No. 1 since 2001.
O’Reilly is said to earn $15 million a year for his services.
It is a common negotiating technique in the entertainment industry (and otherwise) to send signals when a contract is about to expire that one is willing to walk away.
O’Reilly’s closest rival on Fox News in terms of viewers (about 2.3 million), Megyn Kelly, has also been rumored to be willing to make the leap to CNN, when her contract ends next summer.
Kelly reputedly earns $10 million per year for anchoring her program The Kelly File and is looking to double that figure under her next contract.
Presumably, O’Reilly’s salary would come in higher than the $20 million figure, if Kelly stays with FNC.
In in an interview last month, O’Reilly expressed his displeasure with Kelly for going after their employer in her new book Settle for More.
“It’s open season, let’s whack the Fox News Channel,” he said. “I’ve had enough of it. It’s a good place to work, all right? We do good work, honest work there. So I’m not going to buy into ‘Let’s use the Fox News Channel as a piñata.’ I don’t think it is right.”
“I’m not interested in making my network look bad, at all. That doesn’t interest me one bit,” O’Reilly added.
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