Bill O'Reilly says he'd only return to TV at a 'competitive' network


Last weekend, at an appearance in Westbury, N.Y., former Fox News star Bill O'Reilly confirmed to the crowd who came out to see him and Dennis Miller perform that his team will experiment with a digital newscast similar to his old The O'Reilly Factor show, to launch sometime before September.

On Friday morning, his former Fox News colleague Glenn Beck had O'Reilly on his radio show and asked if he's interested in returning to television.

"I don't know yet," O'Reilly said. "It has to be the right vehicle. It has to be a vehicle that's competitive, because I'm having fun. ... I never wake up and say, 'Gee, I wish I could commute to New York City today for an hour and a half and walk into a tension-packed cauldron."

Conservative television networks have been courting O'Reilly and the large and devoted audience he brings with him. This week, One America News Network pulled an offer to O'Reilly, reportedly after not hearing back from his agent. "We are pulling offer to @billoreilly, it could have paid him more than he made at Fox," OANN CEO Robert Herring wrote on Twitter Tuesday. "We wish him luck."

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OANN, of course, does not have nearly the audience Fox News has. Newsmax has also been interested in O'Reilly's services.

In the meantime, O'Reilly is working on his digital newscast. On Friday, O'Reilly said the newscast will run for about 40 minutes (he had said last weekend that it would be half an hour). "We're looking maybe to expand to a studio," he said. "We're not sure yet. We'll see what happens. A lot of interest in it." (The Hollywood Reporter spoke this week to several digital media executives about O'Reilly's chances for success as an over-the-top video newscaster.)

He bragged to Beck about the success of his paid No Spin News podcast, which he said has topped the iTunes charts.

While he said he's enjoying the podcast, O'Reilly hinted that he has some unfinished business. "I have some battles I want to fight," he said of a possible TV return. "And if the right forum presents itself, I would absolutely consider it.

In the appearance, he bemoaned the state of the national media, using as an example the recent departure of Scott Pelley from his post as anchor of the CBS Evening News.

"The mainstream media, the national media, is collapsing," O'Reilly said. "Scott Pelley, the big time anchor of the CBS News, leaves his position, nobody even knows. Nobody even knows it!"

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Read more: Is Bill O'Reilly Plotting His Future in Digital or TV (or Both)?