Fox News Channel Factors In O'Reilly Renewal

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Cable news leader Fox News Channel has signed the sector's top Nielsen performer to a new multiyear contract.

As expected, Bill O'Reilly has renewed his pact with Fox News Channel, ensuring that The O'Reilly Factor will continue to anchor the service's primetime lineup. Financial terms were not disclosed. O'Reilly's contract was set to expire at year-end.

News began surfacing last week that both O'Reilly -- whose show has set the cable news pace in the 8 p.m. hour for 136 months and been the top show in cable news for 125 consecutive months -- and Sean Hannity, were nearing contract renewals. Both men have been with FNC since its launch in 1996 and have contributed significantly to its being the cable news Nielsen leader for over a decade.

O'Reilly screen

"Bill's immense talent, intellect and raw convictions are an extremely rare combination in television and exemplify why The O'Reilly Factor has been the number one program in cable news for more than a decade," said Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes in announcing the new contract. "He is a tremendous force in the business and has helped to make Fox News the success story it is today."

Added O'Reilly: "It's been great fun in challenging the establishment and exposing the corruption across the nation. The Factor takes pride in holding people accountable and I especially look forward to the exciting news cycle ahead. Fox News has become the primary force in television news under Roger's leadership and I'm delighted to continue there for years to come."

During the first quarter, The O'Reilly Factor averaged 2.9 million viewers, including 595,000 among the 25-to-54 set. With encores, the show nets some 4.5 million watchers, and routinely doubles CNN and MSNBC's combined audience and demo deliveries.

For its part, Hannity, airing weeknights at 9 p.m., stands as the second-ranked cable news show, scoring with 2.1 million nightly watchers, including 475,000 in the news demo during the first quarter.

Sources familiar with the negotiations indicated that FNC is also close to finalizing a new deal with Hannity.

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