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Is the Writing on the Wall for The O'Reilly Factor?

Reported by Marie Therese - May 8, 2005

News Hounds Editorial

On May 6th, MediaBistro's TVNewser editor, Brian Stelter, wrote: "In response to this morning's post about Paula Zahn's ratings, a CNN insider says: 'FNC should be less concerned with Zahn's performance and more concerned with the fact that O'Reilly continues to hemorrhage viewers month-over-month since October.' Here are the monthly averages: October: 3,166,000 / November: 3,080,000 / December: 2,610,000 / January: 2,478,000 / February: 2,391,000 / March: 2,320,000 / April: 2,178,000 / May-to-date: 2,096,000"

Finally, something in print that verifies what I've suspected for the past few months - that O'Reilly's star is on the DEScendancy at FOX News Channel.

On the Thom Hartmann Show (April 29th), I mentioned that O'Reilly has not been getting the "hot" guests, e.g., Schwarzenegger, Rice, etc. They have been booked on Hannity & Colmes instead. Hartmann suggested this was fallout from the Makris scandal and I agreed. But I also have a tiny little voice that tells me Bill may be in hot water at FOX because he let himself get too involved in trying to influence state politics, especially in Georgia.

Maybe FOX didn't like the fact that he was so chummy with Shanon Goessling's Southeastern Legal Foundation. SLF has close connections to CBS Memogate through its Legal Advisory Board member Harry MacDougald who, using the name "Buckhead," was the first person to "happen" to notice the modern font in the CBS memos. SLF is also connected to Gannon-Guckert. GiGi's boss, Bruce Eberle, was in charge of a fund-raising campaign meant to pay Paula Jones' legal bills but instead $100,000 of it went to Jones and nothing was given to her attorneys. While this was going on, Eberle was also working for the Richard Mellon Scaife-funded Southeastern Legal Foundation and its famous client, Gary Aldrich.

In addition, O'Reilly has spent a lot of time bashing Florida, including Bush brother Jeb, which cannot have been well-received at the White House or in the FOX .

Additionally, O'Reilly seems to have lost the ability to "create" news stories that are then picked up hook-line-and-sinker by the rest of the media. Last Friday's Talking Points Memo [5/6/05] was a whining complaint that New York's three newspapers - Times, News and Post (owned by Murdoch's News Corps) - had not given front page coverage to a story he's been profiling this week - the brutal murder of a New York mother by an illegal Guatamalan immigrant.

Last week O'Reilly announced that The Radio Factor - formerly broadcast by Westwood One - will be taken over by FOX. In some markets the ratings for the Radio Factor have been so low that Westwood had to pay certain stations to run it.

In the past ten days Bill's been doing some cross-promotion of stories with "Inside Edition," his old show at CBS. Is something in the wind there? Is IE about to jump to the FOX lineup? Or is Bill looking to make a move away from FOX News, either under duress or voluntarily? He might actually prefer to be in L.A. since, by his own admission, he's got a picture deal in the works with Mel Gibson to bring his potboiler, "Those Who Trespass," to the big screen.

News Hound quiz: If Bill leaves FOX, who will take over the Factor time slot? My guess is Michael Reagan or Tony Snow. What's yours?

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