By Lynn Woolley
These are the two questions.
Will O’Reilly survive his current crisis? If not, whom will FOX News install in his coveted timeslot?
There are no easy answers.
O’Reilly’s latest problems started when a Los Angeles radio personality, Wendy Walsh, filed a sexual harassment complaint against him. Other complaints followed and up to 60 advertisers on the O’Reilly Factor moved their commercials off the show.
O’Reilly and FOX have paid $13 million to five women in settlements.
It might blow over. O’Reilly claims no fault and says the money was paid to protect his children. So maybe he survives this – but FOX News has got to be making a contingency plan in case he doesn’t. The easiest choice would be Eric Bolling, a former commodities trader who is a frequent guest host. But Bolling does not have the air-presence of Bill O’Reilly. FOX likely has a short list.
We’ve been here before.
Remember when the Left took offense at Rush Limbaugh’s treatment of the liberal activist Sandra Fluke over her wanting to be provided free birth control by the taxpayers? Limbaugh was absolutely right when he called her out – but he used the word “slut,” and the Left pounced. Advertisers fell off his radio show. But he survived.
The Left had already had a success against Limbaugh when he got himself tossed off of ESPN’s pregame coverage of the NFL. Note that Limbaugh is the NFL’s biggest fan and having on a major panel show was actually a coup for the League. But Limbaugh made a comment about the media wanting a black quarterback (Donovan McNabb) to succeed. The media used the comment as a tool to brand Limbaugh as a racist, and he was let go from the show.
The Left succeeded with Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Liberals always hated her for her commonsense advice on life and sex – and she gave them an opportunity. To prove the concept of free speech, she iterated and reiterated the N-word several times. She was soon banished to the netherworld of satellite radio never to be heard from again.
Don Imus, the acerbic New York disk jockey who likes to insult everybody was talking about black girls on a sports team when he uttered the words “nappy headed ho’s.” The word “ho” is street language used by many blacks – but when Imus said it, it was enough to get him kicked off his radio shows on WFAN and the MSNBC simulcast. He later made a comeback, but never has been as big as before.
So – why doesn’t Rush come to the aid of Bill O’Reilly?
Limbaugh has always operated under the policy that he is the only political talk show host. He will occasionally mention Sean Hannity or Mark Levin (the Frontbencher) if he has to, but he rarely does. He claims he does not even listen to other talks shows. He once demeaned O’Reilly by saying something to the effect of:
“Sorry but somebody’s gotta say it. Bill O’Reilly is Ted Baxter.”
I found this comment disturbing at the time. I enjoy the O’Reilly Factor and the Rush Limbaugh Show. They are two different things. Bill is less ideological than Rush, but his “Talking Points Memo” is a jewel night after night. Bill does interviews while Rush does monologues. They complement each other as the respective kings of talk radio and cable TV.
I remember the first time I saw my two favorite heroes, Superman and Batman, in one adventure together. That was thrilling to a 9-year-old boy. And I cannot tell you how great it would be to see Rush and Bill together on radio or TV. O’Reilly would absolutely do it, but Limbaugh never will because he cannot bring himself to share a spotlight. And that’s a shame.
If Rush Limbaugh came out in support of O’Reilly it might help- –almost certainly would. But it won’t happen.
So who might be in line for cable TV’s prime spot?
FOX News surely has some idea, but we won’t know until and unless O’Reilly quits or is fired. So let’s have some fun and speculate. First of all, forget the notion that FOX News might poach somebody from CNN or MNBC.
CNN is a worn-out network with fading personalities like Anderson Cooper and Wolf Blitzer. There is no one there to poach. MSNBC’s primetime hosts are all fruitcakes with the exception of Greta Van Susteren and she’s already been at FOX News.
So it has to be someone already at FOX – or someone not currently on cable TV.
Eric Bolling. He’s there. He can do it. He’s done it. But he’s not as good as O’Reilly and doesn’t have Bill’s personality. Odds are against it.
Megyn Kelly. It would be ironic for a woman to get the slot, but she’s gone to NBC and has vanished from sight. Her day at FOX News is gone.
Tucker Carlson. Tucker puts on a great show, but he’s killing it in the spot after the Factor. Moving him up does not solve FOX’s problem.
Sean Hannity. They like him in the cleanup spot. He’s not going to move up.
Tomi Lahren. Nope. No way. She’s suing her former employer, Glenn Beck, and FOX doesn’t want any part of that. Besides, she’s pro abortion. ‘Nuff said.
Glenn Beck. You gotta admit, this could be a good choice. Beck was immensely popular last time he was on FOX – but he’s changed politically and audiences might not accept him this time around.
Mark Levin. No way. He’s good when he’s good, but he’s rude to callers on his radio show, and he’s far too negative for cable TV.
Rush Limbaugh. LOL! Rush will not sit in front of a camera and interview guests for any amount of money. If he could do it without guests —, but no.
Piers Morgan. British. Anti-gun. No way.
Mark Steyn. This could make sense. Steyn does a great monologue, has a sense humor, is funny, and is conservative. He would be a great choice if his accent is not deemed a problem.
Martha McCallum. I like Martha far better than Megyn Kelly – but she’s got a temporary show and it may become permanent. If so, she’s set — right where she is.
Neil Cavuto. Probably not on the A list.
Lou Dobbs. Another possible good choice, but Lou is aging and the network will want someone younger. Dobbs, however, absolutely could carry the show.
Kennedy. Maybe, just maybe. She’s young, cute, sassy, and knowledgeable. She also is a woman, which may help. If I were at FOX, she’d be on my list.
The bottom line is this.
Bill-O isn’t gone yet. And there’s no really good choice to replace him. So we wait and see – and keep you fully informed. After all, we’re looking out for you.
Tagged with: Bill O'Reilly crisis, Dr Laura and the N-word, FOX News as firing O'Reilly, Glenn Beck replacing O'Reilly, Imus & Nappy Headed Ho's, Kennedy replacing O'Reilly, Limbaugh & ESPN, Limbaugh & Sandra Fluke, Limbaugh vs O'Reilly, Mark Steyn replacing O'Reilly, O'reilly as Ted Baxter, Who will replace O'Reilly