Last week, we broke the story that Fox News Channel was finalizing new multi-year, multimillion-dollar deals with its two biggest stars, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. Now one of them, O’Reilly’s, has closed, according to an official announcement by the cable news network’s chairman and CEO Roger Ailes. “Bill’s immense talent, intellect and raw convictions are an extremely rare combination in television and exemplify why The O’Reilly Factor has been the number one program in cable news for more than a decade,” Ailes said. “He is a tremendous force in the business and has helped to make Fox News the success story it is today.” Added O’Reilly, “It’s been great fun in challenging the establishment and exposing the corruption across the nation. Fox News has become the primary force in television news under Roger’s leadership and I’m delighted to continue there for years to come.”
O’Reilly joined FNC at its launch in 1996, initially serving as host of The O’Reilly Report, which was re-named The O’Reilly Factor when it moved to primetime in 1998. The O’Reilly Factor has been No. 1 in its 8 PM time slot for 136 consecutive months and has been the most-watched program on any cable news network for 125 consecutive months, having eclipsed previous top performer, CNN’s Larry King Live, in 2000. The O’Reilly Factor currently averages 4.5 million viewers in gross audience per night, consistently outrating CNN, MSNBC and HLN combined in both viewership and the 25-54 demographic. During his more than 15-year tenure at FNC, O’Reilly has interviewed such newsmakers as President Obama, presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President George W. Bush, Jon Stewart, Howard Stern, Rosie O’Donnell, Bono, Stephen Colbert and Michael Moore.