Former Fox News host and commentator Bill O’Reilly had one of the millennium’s most public falls from grace as he was forced to leave the network amid continued accusations of sexual assault during his 20 years as a Fox News employee. Just prior to his ejection from the network, he had signed a $100 million, four year deal to continue at the station. According to sources, the new contract contained a number of clauses that dealt with the allegations of sexual assault, nixing any possibility of him collecting one cent from Fox should the allegations pile up. They did, and Fox cut O’Reilly and his contract loose.
Bill O’Reilly had a nose for journalism and the media from his earliest days. He did stints as a TV broadcaster in various cities around the country, which was followed by being hired as a news correspondent by both CBS and ABC. These kinds of jobs aren’t known for paying exceptionally well, so while they did pay the bills they weren’t a major factor in contributing to his current net worth.
O’Reilly continued his media career as the host of the television show “Inside Edition” where he gained a reputation for being stubborn and finicky, at times blowing up at his co-workers and coming off as a petulant child. Despite the antics, he survived the show for 6 years until moving to the Fox News Channel to begin his own “The O’Reilly Factor” show. “Inside Edition” began to move O’Reilly up the income and net worth ladder, but then came the Fox News opportunity that would change the media and his income to unbelievable levels.
As for specific numbers, he would earn $10 million as the host of “The Factor” (as it was to be called later) from 2004 to 2009. That number would be matched – but only for a single year – in 2009. Three years later he would be making about $15 million as he kept the Fox News and Factor juggernaut rolling, being rated as the most watched cable news show anywhere. But there were other sources of income, including products and endorsements that would raise that number to $24 million for the year.
Then came 2013, when O’Reilly would crack the $20 million a year ceiling with a new contract. Add another $8 million to the media personality’s growing popularity, appearing in endorsements and making personal appearances, and in about 5 years he tripled his annual income and continued to build his net worth.
As a media magnet, O’Reilly capitalized on his reputation as “fair and balanced” by working with book publisher Henry Holt, among others, to create a series of five books that were called “The Killing Series.” The estimated revenue generated by these books is $24 million, so despite losing the Fox News host position, he continues to find new ways to increase his income and net worth. One estimate bumps up that total to $28 million for 2016, and that number is strictly about publishing royalties from his books.
But then came the sexual assault allegations, some resulting in payoffs either by O’Reilly or Fox News, offsetting the good and combining the bad and the ugly. There is a number floating around that has the total amount of money paid to either quash or legally settle the sexual harassment claims at $45 million. Though it is uncertain how much has come from the coffers of Fox News and how much he has paid out of pocket, one source has O’Reilly paying out $13 million from his own pocket.
So the $85 million net worth number is very realistic, though it is likely to be even higher than that. One reason is that O’Reilly has been keen enough to have his own website and a social media following for years, and we all know what kind of money even low profile entertainment celebrities are making from their podcasts and videos. Now that all of the sexual harassment accusations are far behind him, he does not have to worry any longer about money be taken away from him through the court system (not to mention the associated legal fees) so what he makes he keeps. It wouldn’t be surprising for the 68 year old to find his net worth growing to over $100 million in the next year based on current and continued book sales and his continued popularity even after leaving Fox News.