It is becoming clearer each day that the absence of the O’Reilly Factor from Fox News’s prime time schedule is quickly and ominously having a disastrous domino effect on the entire network’s evening ratings, and on the popularity of many of the channel’s non-prime time programs, as well. O’Reilly’s consistent #1 ranking at 8 PM provided the strong lead in that helped to keep the 9 and 10 PM FNC programming hours at or near the top of the cable news rankings.
The loss of Bill O’Reilly, however, is only a part of a perfect storm that seems to be engulfing the troubled network. Media wizard Roger Ailes is no longer the guiding hand at the helm of FNC and News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch is ceding more day to day authority to his heirs, sons James and Lachlan, who are widely reported to be much more more liberal than their father. Under the influence of this new guard, News Corp’s executives were therefore prone to unceremoniously dump O’Reilly less than three weeks after the damning New York Times article appeared rather than stand and fight the politically charged accusations against him. (It should be noted that O’Reilly, who continues to assert his innocence, has never had his day in court to confront and defend himself against his accusers, some of whom remain anonymous.)