Dana Perino hosts “The O’Reilly Factor.” Could she replace O’Reilly for good?

Perino is Fox new star but is she ready to take O’Reilly’s place is he goes?

As the buzz about the future of Fox News superstar Bill O’Reilly continues to dominate the TV media world, last night we saw a person who could be his replacement. The very talented and star in waiting, Dana Perino, was in the air chair hosting The O’Reilly Factor, as the host was starting his two-week vacation.

For the rest of the week it will be Bret Baier hosting Thursday’s show and Greg Gutfeld will fill in Friday this week and next. Meanwhile, Perino will return to take O’Reilly’s chair from Monday through Thursday next week.

If you have been out of the country or sleeping the past month or so then you have missed that O’Reilly, Fox News biggest and most profitable star, faces an internal investigation into sexual harassment claims against him.

According to the New York Times, the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison has been enlisted by 21st Century Fox to investigate, and although the probe started with a review of accusations made by Wendy Walsh, a former guest on Mr. O’Reilly’s show, the law firm is expected to expand its purview if other issues arise,

At last count around to 50 sponsors have left the show, after an investigative story in the New York Times alleges five women received settlements from Fox News and O’Reilly totaling some $13 million after making misconduct accusations against the top-rated host.

While an intense battle inside the highest levels on 20th Century Fox goes on as to what to do with O’Reilly it can’t be denied that his show is a cash machine. O’Reilly’s ratings are rock solid, and he has consistently generated impressive ad revenue, according to multiple sources as much as $446 million from 2014 to 2016.

The show is starting its 20th year on the air, and makes more money than any other program on Fox News, CNN or MSNBC. That is one reason that firing O’Reilly could be a problem.

Photo: AP Photo/Richard Drew, File.

Meanwhile, Perino, who was part of the George W. Bush admiration and had the distinction of being the first Republican woman to serve as the White House press secretary, who could be O’Reilly’s replacement.

She has established herself as a star on the rise at the network serving in the duel capacity as a Fox News contributor and co-host of The Five, a very popular show with strong ratings.

There is no doubt that Perino, has what it takes to handle a primetime show. Since Megyn Kelly, left the network for her new job at NBC, Fox has wanted to find another woman to be a prominate roll in the network political coverage.

Surely Perino has the resume and the talent to be a perfect fit for Fox News. But the question remains – Will Fox really pull the plug on 0’Reilly?

His contract with Fox News goes through 2020, his ratings continue to be the best on the network and he has the backing of News Corp. boss Rupert Murdock.

For now, O’Reilly is expected to return to his show on April 24th after his vacation is over. The decision on his future is up to the three to people at Fox Murdoch, 86, who controls 21st Century Fox, and his two sons Lachlan, 45, and James, 44, who have top leadership positions at the company.

For the moment it is likely that the elder Murdock will win and O’Reilly, will return. But the younger Murdock’s will wait to see how the internal investigation plays out and in the meantime they will make sure Perino, is ready if O’Reilly must go.

Video from Fox News and photo from Fox PR.

 

 

 

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Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved with Berman Concerts and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.