Bill O'Reilly: when the risks outweigh the benefits
For most of his time on Fox News, Bill O'Reilly could justify his hefty price tag. Earning tens of millions of dollars every year, the O'Reilly Factor host managed to command such a high sum because he dominated the ratings and helped Fox News deliver record profits for its parent company, 21st Century Fox.
Fox were willing to stand by Mr O'Reilly as he faced allegations of sexual harassment or other inappropriate behaviour. The company reached settlements with five women, with the agreements totalling around $13 million.
However, with more than 50 advertisers abandoning the news discussion show, their patience (and their wallets) thinned, and the presenter was forced out. Even in his absence, Mr O'Reilly will still be profiting from the company with his payout reportedly around $25 million, based on one year's salary from a new contract he signed just before being ousted.
The O'Reilly Factor generated more than $446 million in advertisement revenue between 2014 and 2016, according to the New York Times. In the month before the ad exodus, it had an average of 33 commercials a night.
Following the revelation about the multiple settlements, the amount of paid advertising time during prime-time broadcasts dropped by 50 per cent. With major companies choosing not to advertise on The O'Reilly Factor, his last appearances were dominated by small-budget brands and direct-response marketers. Once attracting big names such as Mercedes-Benz, large pharmaceutical companies, and financial and insurance firms, the last advertisers were a website called MyPillow.com and a maker of freeze dryers called Harvest Right.
The Atlantic observe that one factor in the demise of The Factor is 21st Century Fox's pending takeover of Sky TV. With media regulator Ofcom set to judge whether the company, and its owners the Murdochs, are "fit and proper" to own the media property, removing Mr O’Reilly could appease the critics and help close the reported $14 billion deal.