The next stage in Bill O’Reilly’s quest to stay relevant will take the shape of a 30-minute show to be broadcast on his website, BillOReilly.com.
The former Fox News figurehead was speaking at an event on Long Island on Saturday when he was asked what’s next. “I am starting my own operation,” he said, according to Newsday. “We will go into a studio and here it will look like The Factor.”
O’Reilly said that his new show will be a way to gauge “how many people are going to want this service,” and promised that it will arrive in September in a “robust form.”
Since his ouster from Fox News in April amid revelations that his network paid up to $13 million in settlements to women who alleged that they were sexually harassed by O’Reilly, the former King of Cable News has resembled a flailing fish gasping for air. On his first BillOReilly.com podcast, which debuted in April, O’Reilly admitted how sad he was to no longer be on television and promised that one day he will be vindicated.
“I can’t say a lot, because there’s much stuff going on right now,” he said at the time. “But I can tell you that I’m very confident the truth will come out, and when it does, I don’t know if you’re going to be surprised — but I think you’re going to be shaken, as I am. There’s a lot of stuff involved here.”
O’Reilly appears to be moving away from that rhetoric and is instead training his crosshairs on the network that fired him. Since losing O’Reilly, Fox’s ratings have plummeted, which O’Reilly believes has opened the door for another network to take its place as the conservative voice of America. It’s up to O’Reilly to pick which one he wants to bet on.
One option is joining Glenn Beck at The Blaze. O’Reilly has already been making weekly appearances on Beck’s radio show, and together, the two Fox news alumni could have enough of a built-in audience to give Fox a run for its money.
Another likely scenario could see O’Reilly start his own network. If his 30-minute experiment does hit with audiences, it might be enough to convince O’Reilly that he could topple his former employer all by himself.
But no matter where O’Reilly ends up, one thing’s for sure: If he wants to regain his relevancy, streaming is definitely not the way to do it. All he has to do is look at Keith Olbermann, who was once the most recognizable liberal voice on cable news. Despite the fact that episodes of Olbermann’s YouTube show The Resistance get 3-4 million views regularly, it’s not nearly as influential as it would be if it were on cable. Olbermann recently told the New York Times that if CNN “called tomorrow” and offered him a hosting slot, he’d accept without hesitation.
As O’Reilly decides how to chart his post-Fox course, he must face the same existential question that Olbermann struggles with every day. If you attack the left but you’re not on television, did it really happen?