I've never been a fan of Bill O'Reilly. In fact I can confess I have had a strong disdain for the man years before he even set foot at the cable TV giant Fox News. I could not stand him back when he used to host 'Inside Edition'.
But I can also give the devil it's due. He was a great on-air talent.
While I could not stand the content of his long running show 'The O'Reilly Factor', being someone who also works in media, I can at least confess that his show was put together very well. For the crowd it catered too, it did have the desired effect. Which is why I can understand why it was so hard for Fox News after years of rumored sexual harassment allegations against Mr. O'Reilly, to finally part ways with him.
Many are rejoicing over his firing. But my opinion is no matter what he is still the ultimate winner in this.
It is Fox News who will lose most.
First off he's getting an substantial payout to leave. The rumor mill puts the figure at $25 million. Whatever, wherever he decides to go or do from this point on will garner much attention. His name is a brand unto itself.
Secondly, O'Reilly will not lose much of his fanbase. They will simply just follow him wherever he goes. In an industry where consumers now embrace the talent vs. the company, Bill O'Reilly is now in a similar situation with the likes of Bill Simmons, who was let go by ESPN in 2015 and regrouped with his now successful start up at The Ringer. You even have an excellent example not too far in the political arena with Glenn Beck who started his own media empire, the conservative right wing home in 'The Blaze'. If O'Reilly really wanted to he has more than enough cache to start up his own media empire.
The template is already there.
Eventually all of this will all die down. There will be major networks who will want to take a chance on Bill O'Reilly and make substantial offers. He is way too talented. He is a big draw. And the end game is all about ratings. Do you really believe advertisers care a good damn about morality play? They will be crawling back in months and/or years.
Bill O'Reilly is not finished.
Unless he wants to.