Bill O’Reilly has been holding talks to host a TV program on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s TV stations.
Sinclair, the nation’s largest TV-station owner, currently owns or operates 173 stations and, in May, struck a deal for Tribune Media, which would up that tally to 220 stations if that acquisition is approved. Many of the Tribune stations are Fox broadcast affils.
Fox News parent 21st Century Fox pink-slipped O’Reilly last spring in the wake of a New York Times report about the various settlements he and his former employer paid out to women who had logged harassment allegations against Fox News Channel’s primetime star. Last week, NYT updated its reporting, writing that O’Reilly personally had settled a $32M sex harassment claim against him by former Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl. When 21st Century Fox inked a new four-year, $100 million contract extension with the cable news star, it had been aware of the settlement, NYT reported.
Company honchos have acknowledged they knew of the settlement but not the dollar amount. Just this morning, James Murdcoch, CEO of 21st Century Fox, said the amount of the $32 million sexual harassment settlement paid by O’Reilly was “news to me.”
This latest NYT bombshell did not scuttle the talks between O’Reilly and the conservative broadcast org, according to NBC News, which broke word of the Sinclair talks today. O’Reilly, meanwhile, has said he is mad at god for the NYT reports.
Sinclair is looking to put a two-hour O’Reilly block on its stations and on Tribune flagship WGN, starting at 6 PM or 7 PM, which could mean his fans might see him in the 8 PM hour where they’d grown used to watching him on FNC, where he was the cable news network’s most watched program.
Sinclair Broadcasting has been in the news for compelling its local station news chiefs to run newscast segments featuring GOP analyst Boris Epshteyn, a former Trump White House staffer.