Viewers Are Staying With O'Reilly Despite His Sexual Harassment Scandal

Photo: Richard Drew/AP
Just how much does a scandal foil the ratings of a popular cable news program? If you ask the advertisers, businesses will absolutely save face and pull their ads. However, if you ask the viewers of the actual show, they’ll more than likely continue to tune in.
Despite the allegations against host Bill O’Reilly for sexual harassment and improper conduct, viewers have remained loyal to Fox News Channel’s The O'Reilly Factor, according to the Associated Press.
"Controversy is a breeding ground for interest," said Marc Berman, editor in chief of The Programming Insider to the AP. "So people who otherwise might not have seen his show recently are curious. People might want to see if he addresses the subject. If the ratings were not up, I would have been surprised."
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Basically it’s like that old myth “any publicity is good publicity.”
Tuesday the Nielsen Company noted that the hit program is a ratings juggernaut. In 2017 an average of 3.71 million viewers tune in weekly to the The O'Reilly Factor. This a 12 percent increase from the viewership this time last year which averaged 3.31 million viewers, as noted by AP.
Last week more than 35 advertisers pulled ads from the show after the news went public. This included companies like Bayer, Esurance, Subaru, H&R Block, and Jenny Craig.
“We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about The O'Reilly Factor," said Fox News' EVP of advertising sales, Paul Rittenberg to Forbes. "At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs."
Over the past 15 years, Fox has paid out a whopping $13 million to five women to quickly and quietly settle sexual harassment claims against the controversial anchor. Many feel this is reason enough for the O’Reilly’s progam to not only be boycotted but taken off air.
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