21st Century Fox executive chairman Rupert Murdoch sent an uplifting message to Fox News staffers on Thursday, expressing gratitude for recent successes. But as reports swirl that embattled host Bill O’Reilly may get fired, Murdoch made no mention of him or his fate at the news network.
O’Reilly is on vacation while an internal investigation is underway looking into sexual harassment allegations that were exposed in a recent New York Times report. Fox News and O’Reilly say the trip was planned months ago and has nothing to do with the allegations but rumors continue to swirl regarding the situation. New York Magazine reported that Rupert Murdoch’s son, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch, would like O’Reilly permanently benched, while his brother Lachlan and family patriarch Rupert are prepared to let O’Reilly stay.
Meanwhile, Fox News continues to dominate the cable news landscape and its sister, Fox Business Network, is on fire as well. Murdoch focused on the positives when he took the time to reach out to staff members.
“As we enter this new spring season, I’d like to take the opportunity to wish those celebrating, a wonderful Passover and Easter holiday. The first few months of this year have already given us much to be thankful for,” Murdoch wrote in the internal email obtained by TheWrap.
Murdoch continued: “FOX News just delivered its highest-rated quarter ever and remains number one in cable in both prime time and total day, while FOX Business has surpassed CNBC as the number one business channel on television. I am tremendously proud of our entire team and truly grateful for the hard work everyone has contributed to ensure our continued future success.”
Fox News Channel was the most-watched basic cable network for the 14th straight week after averaging 1.7 million viewers from April 3-9. Fox News averaged 2.8 million primetime viewers, holding off No. 2 MSNBC, which averaged 1.7 million primetime viewers. Fox News has now been the highest-rated primetime cable station for 11 out of the past 12 weeks.
The only non-Fox News program in basic cable to beat O’Reilly among total viewers last week was USA’s WWE program “Monday Night Raw.” In addition, FBN has now topped CNBC as the most-watched business channel for 13 straight weeks.