Bill O'Reilly might launch his own TV network. Or he might not. The former king of cable news isn't sure what he will do next, but he is betting that a weaker Fox News will make his epic comeback possible.
“There will be a network that rises up because the numbers for Fox are going down,” O'Reilly said at a speaking event in New York on Sunday, according to Newsday.
O'Reilly has been podcasting since sexual harassment allegations and an advertiser exodus prompted his ouster from Fox News in April, but he said Sunday that he plans to begin producing half-hour video webcasts that resemble his old TV show and posting them on his website.
“It’s basically an experiment to see how many people are going to want this service,” he said. “That’s coming and will be here before September in a robust form. But I suspect there will be another network maybe merging with us.”
Asked during a Q&A session whether he might start a new network of his own, O'Reilly said that “there could be a new network.”
The deepest insight into O'Reilly's thinking might be contained in a follow-up message he posted on his website on Monday: “In the question-and-answer part of the show, many wanted to know what I'm going to do next. I am taking some time to decide, as America is changing quickly and I don't want to miscalculate.”
Avoiding a miscalculation is priority No. 1 for O'Reilly. The ultimate indignity, at this point, would be to fail in his next venture.
He could bet on TheBlaze becoming the next big thing in conservative TV and join former Fox News colleague Glenn Beck there. He could sign with Newsmax or One America News, both of which have been courting him. But what if he picks the wrong one?
O'Reilly could bet on himself and go all in on a brand-new network of his own. But what if it flops?
For now, O'Reilly is placing just one wager — against Fox News. He seems to believe that Fox News is going to lose its stranglehold on the conservative television audience and that someone is going to capitalize.
Unsure who that someone might be, O'Reilly is keeping his options open.
“So, we will continue to expand analysis on BillOReilly.com and listen to offers this summer,” he wrote on Monday.
If Fox News's ratings sink, and O'Reilly's webcast takes off, then perhaps the No Spin Zone will become the No Spin Network. If an existing, would-be rival to Fox News emerges as the clear front-runner to seize market share, then maybe O'Reilly will climb aboard.
O'Reilly would probably be happy in either scenario. His nightmare would be to bomb in his next endeavor. He is going to wait and choose his next move very carefully.