Viewership of ‘O’Reilly Factor’ drops without Bill O’Reilly

Viewership of 'O'Reilly Factor' drops without Bill O'Reilly

NEW YORK — Through four days of Bill O’Reilly’s vacation, his show’s viewership declined by 23 per cent in the hands of substitutes Dana Perino, Eric Bolling and Greg Gutfeld.

O’Reilly is on a nearly two-week vacation at the same time Fox News Channel’s parent company looks into a woman’s accusation that her career was slowed when she spurned his advances. Dozens of his show’s advertisers have fled following reports of harassment settlements paid to other women. O’Reilly has denied any wrongdoing.

Despite the vacation, the pressure is staying on O’Reilly and 21st Century Fox, which is looking into at least one complaint about his behaviour. The Wall Street Journal — a newspaper owned by the same Murdoch family that owns Fox News Channel — reported late Tuesday that Fox executives were “preparing to cut ties” with O’Reilly. A spokesman for 21st Century Fox declined to comment to the AP.

Earlier, attorney Lisa Bloom said she was representing a former clerical worker at Fox who complained that day to a hotline established at Fox about O’Reilly’s behaviour during her six months working there in 2008.

The woman, who is African-American, said O’Reilly referred to her as “hot chocolate” at one point when they were together alone, made grunting noises and leered at her cleavage and legs, Bloom said. The woman said she never had a direct conversation with O’Reilly.

The woman, who is not contemplating any legal action, reported being “very stressed and disillusioned” about her job and believed she would be fired if she complained to anyone, Bloom said.

Marc Kasowitz, O’Reilly’s attorney, said that it was “outrageous that an allegation from an anonymous person about something that purportedly happened almost a decade ago is being treated as fact, especially where there is obviously an orchestrated campaign by activists and lawyers to destroy Mr. O’Reilly and enrich themselves through publicity driven donations.”

It wasn’t immediately clear who he was referring to.

Bloom, who represents another woman who has complained about O’Reilly’s behaviour, said she is not taking payment for the O’Reilly cases.

Later, Kasowitz said O’Reilly has been subject to a “brutal campaign of character assassination” that is unprecedented in more than 70 years. He said he had evidence that a smear campaign is being orchestrated by “far-left organizations,” but he didn’t immediately release any.

Nielsen company figures show that so far, viewers aren’t as interested in “The O’Reilly Factor” without O’Reilly. Perino has done the best, with her 3.15 million viewers on Monday down 16 per cent from O’Reilly’s performance a week earlier. Bolling also showed a 16 per cent drop from O’Reilly a week earlier, and he reached 3.11 million viewers.

The 2.32 million who watched Gutfeld on Friday was down 39 per cent from the previous Friday and, alarmingly, was even lower than Tucker Carlson’s audience at 9 p.m. Carlson usually benefits from O’Reilly’s strong lead-in.

Still, the substitutes beat their cable news competition. And Fox pointed out that the network finished last week ahead of all cable networks in viewership, as it has for much of this year.

O’Reilly’s viewership spiked in the days following an April 2 New York Times report on the harassment allegations. In the week that followed, viewership increased to an average of 3.71 million, up 12 per cent from the week before the report and 28 per cent over the same week in 2016.

O’Reilly averaged nearly 4 million viewers a night for the first three months of 2017, his best performance ever. Viewership tends to drop with the arrival of daylight savings time.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, a women’s group said it planned to hire an airplane with a banner, as well as drop off petitions at Fox News Channel’s New York headquarters, calling for O’Reilly to lose his job at the network.

David Bauder, The Associated Press

Just Posted

PHOTOS: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Debit now accepted onboard BC Ferries

Company is giving customers option to use Interac on two-month trial on select vessels

West Shore RCMP seek owner of stolen scaffolding

Flatdeck truck and industrial materials stolen June 15

Spawning salmon start to trickle through Goldstream Park

Projections for this year’s salmon run is 30,000 to 40,000 fish

Salish Sea misses Canada’s tentative list for Word Heritage Sites

A petition supporting the application garnered over 1,000 signatures

Watch: Saanich responds to mock emergency for ammonia Leak

Hazmat suits, emergency centre respond to mock ammonia leak

Find your future at Black Press career fair in Victoria

More than 70 booths expected at Bay Street Armoury on Oct. 25

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Test case challenges a politician’s right to block people from Twitter account

3 people say Watson infringed their constitutional right to freedom of expression by blocking them

‘A little odd’ B.C.’s biggest city celebrates cannabis without a legal store

On the streets of downtown Vancouver, notably the Wild West of illegal marijuana, not a single legal store opened Wednesday, making for a rather anticlimatic kick-off

Puff, puff, pass: Cannabis is officially legal across Canada

B.C. has only one bricks-and-mortar marijuana store

After 50 years, ‘Sesame Street’ Big Bird puppeteer retiring

The puppeteer who has played Big Bird on “Sesame Street” is retiring after nearly 50 years on the show.

Britain, EU decide to take some time in getting Brexit right

Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said “we need much time, much more time and we continue to work in the next weeks.”

Most Read