Since being fired by Fox News in April over alleged sexual harassment claims, there have been many rumors over what Bill O’Reilly’s next move would be. Since then, he has been hosting a subscriber podcast on his website. But, on Friday, TheBlaze reported that O’Reilly may hire several journalists to start his own show in-house. O’Reilly also hinted that this may be the start of a new conservative network.
With the plunging numbers at Fox News, considering that the sons of Rupert Murdoch, James and Lachlan, are both liberals and seem to want to change the network’s direction, this may be the new trend for conservative news.
However, O’Reilly’s rumored endeavor of a subscription channel is nothing new. Six years ago, we saw Glenn Beck abruptly leave his popular 5pm Fox show in order to start TheBlaze. Many wondered why he would make this decision—someone making lots of money and in the public eye in ways many of us would wish for, walking away from it all. But, last year, Beck announced his reason for leaving Fox to become his own boss. The Washington Times reported in February 2016 that Beck said that the reason he left Fox is because his bosses told him to “stop talking about God.” It was also reported that Beck was told to stop telling people to pray…that takes God’s focus off of important things like war.”
Beck then decided to put his principles over his paycheck and walked away.
There are many examples of this. Last year, Mark Levin launched his own subscription show, LevinTV. America’s Town Hall meeting, as Levin calls it, is “uncensored, without middlemen, and commercial-free.” Levin added that it is a way for him to speak directly to his audience, and that it is a place where “people can go to have their principles, beliefs and values reinforced rather than attacked.” LevinTV eventually grew into a network, CRTV, featuring many other shows, and continually adding more.
The Daily Wire is a similar operation. Both Ben Shapiro’s and Andrew Klavan’s shows, as well as the sites many wonderful writers, can share their opinions based on principles, with no oversight telling people what to believe or whether they can share their beliefs and opinions.
Considering how Fox’s numbers are in a free fall, even finishing third in primetime among 25-54 year olds (the top viewership demographic) for the first time in almost 17 years, many predict subscription TV will be the future for conservative news.
It is also worth noting that, in general, cable subscriptions have been dropping dramatically due to its high cost—almost one in five households have cut the cord or never signed up at all. In fact, the New York Post reported that last year, over 2 million people canceled their cable subscriptions.
So, Fox has everything to lose.
Fox should reevaluate its seeming new direction, which seemingly wants to become just another news network, or conservative viewers will go somewhere else, rightfully so. And the network’s executives will have no one to blame but themselves.