Newsmax is discussing a deal for former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly to return to cable television, CEO Chris Ruddy told Politico on Wednesday. O'Reilly's show would air on Newsmax TV, the conservative media company's three-year-old network, which currently reaches 35 million households. The network is also in talks with other cable carriers to expand its viewership.
The New York Times reported last month that O'Reilly had agreed to a $32 million settlement in January with a woman for allegations of "repeated harassment, a nonconsensual sexual relationship, and the sending of gay pornography and other sexually explicit material." This was the sixth settlement made by O'Reilly or Fox News to settle harassment allegations against the former host; O'Reilly was fired from Fox News in April after some of the settlements became public.
But Newsmax remains optimistic about O'Reilly's appeal, Ruddy told Politico: "We don't think Bill O'Reilly's career is over. He does have a market. We're very interested and exploring looking at that. He's a significant talent." Still, Ruddy admitted that "there are obviously issues we'd have to deal with with him and the public to see how that could fit. We're open to having that conversation with him."
In March, The Atlantic published a profile of Ruddy that referred to him as "an unofficial conduit from the inner sanctum of the presidency to the outside world." Ruddy is considered a close friend of President Trump's and has been seen in the past dining with Trump as well as former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon.
A spokesman for O'Reilly declined a request for comment from Politico about the potential deal with Newsmax. Read more at Politico.