Bill O'Reilly is plotting the next phase of his comeback, according to the New York Post, which reports that the former Fox News Channel host is discussing a return to his 8 p.m. time slot, this time on Newsmax TV.
Don't get Newsmax TV? Most Americans don't, either. With a distribution of 50 million U.S. households, Newsmax TV reaches only about half the potential cable and satellite audience that O'Reilly's former employer does. In actual audience, the gap may be even wider. Fox News was the most-watched cable channel in the first quarter of the year, averaging 1.45 million viewers throughout the day; only five other channels claimed even half as many. A Nielsen spokesman said the ratings firm does not track Newsmax TV.
The question, then, is whether O'Reilly, who has been podcasting since his firing last year over sexual harassment allegations, is a big enough draw to make people watch a channel that few do now.
“Can he bring Newsmax TV to the next level?” asked Nicole Hemmer, a contributing opinion editor at U.S. News & World Report and author of “Messengers From the Right,” a book about conservative media. “Newsmax TV isn't particularly well known, and none of its shows has much cachet. Perhaps bringing on Fox's former star could change that.”