The premiere of Tucker Carlson Tonight at 8 p.m. on Fox News Channel featured 20 national TV spots from 18 brands, including some that had pulled out of The O’Reilly Factor.
Carlson took over O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. time slot because O’Reilly, the highest-rated host in cable news, has been accused of sexual harassment by a number of women. Harassment complaints about O’Reilly have reported resulted in $13 million being paid to the victims by the host and Fox News.
After the latest round of accusations against O’Reilly, advertisers pulled commercials from The O’Reilly Factor, increasing the pressure on the Murdoch family, which runs parent company 21st Century Fox, to cut O’Reilly loose, which happened last Wednesday.
Before the harassment headlines, The O'Reilly Factor ran more than 30 spots per hour. Afterward it was below 20.
Advertisers on Carlson’s show included Mercedes-Benz, UNTUCKit and Jenny Craig, which had pulled out of the O’Reilly show. Other advertisers Monday included BP, Choice Hotels, Claritin, Dulcolax, Exxon Mobil, FastLIfe, Honda, Infinit, La Quinta Inns and Suites and Zero Water, according to iSpot.TV, which tracks TV commercials.
In the beginning of his show, Carlson acknowledged that some viewers had tuned in expecting to see O’Reilly. “I know the feeling well. I watched Bill O’Reilly at this hour for years,” Carlson said. “I always marveled at how well prepared he was, how tough he was and how crisply he expressed his views. What O’Reilly did was not easy. He set a high bar. I’ll do my best to meet it.”
Meanwhile, O’Reilly surfaced on his “No Spin News” podcast at BillOReilly.com.
“Hey, I missed you guys,” O’Reilly began.
“I am sad that I’m not on television anymore. I was very surprised how it all turned out. I can’t say a lot, because there’s much stuff going on right now,” he said. "But I can tell you that I’m very confident the truth will come out, and when it does, I don’t know if you’re going to be surprised—but I think you’re going to be shaken, as I am. There’s a lot of stuff involved here.”
He added: “Now, I can’t say anymore because I just don’t want to influence the flow of the information. I don’t want the media to take what I say and misconstrue it. However you, as a loyal O’Reilly listener, have a right to know, I think, down the lane what exactly happened. And we are working in that direction, okay?”
(Photo via Gage Skidmore's Flickr. Image taken on January 5, 2017 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 9x16 aspect ratio.)