Roger Ailes May Launch History Channel Hosted by Bill O'Reilly

Image: Roger Ailes May Launch History Channel Hosted by Bill O'Reilly

Wednesday, 08 Jan 2014 12:50 PM

By Jim Meyers

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Fox News Channel President Roger Ailes says he is interested in launching a new history channel — with top-rated anchor Bill O'Reilly as the host.

He also asserts that critics of Megyn Kelly for her Santa Claus comment are "pathetic."
The 73-year-old Fox chief covered a range of topics in a new interview released Wednesday with The Hollywood Reporter.

Asked how long he believes O'Reilly will do his evening show, Ailes responds: "You can never tell. If you go back pretty far to Steve Allen and Jack Paar, they had a very short lifespan. Mike Wallace did it for 40 years. It's a very individual thing.

"I think Bill can last as long as he wants because he's driven by organic energy. He likes money, but he's not doing it for the money. He probably likes power, but he's not doing it for the power. He's driven by things that he sees that are not right from his point of view.

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"If his ratings were to go way down, or if he thought he'd burned out or didn't have anything else to say, those are reasons to retire, but he is still killing everybody in the ratings."

O'Reilly has written several books on assassinations, and Ailes says: "I would like News Corp. to form a history channel and let Bill work with me. I'd run it for him because I'd like history done correctly for a change. They're not teaching the kids the real stuff. I think there is room for another channel, and I would love to do it."

Megyn Kelly, a newcomer to prime time on Fox, was widely criticized for saying "for all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white."

Ailes comments: "She was joking. She's talking about Santa Claus, for Christ's sake. But the people who are jealous of her, who want to bring her down or hurt Fox, see an opportunity. If they have to beat up somebody as talented as Megyn Kelly on Santa Claus, they're pathetic."

Ailes tells The Hollywood Reporter that he particularly admires MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. "She's very smart," he observes. "She has adapted well to the television medium."

But as for MSNBC, Ailes says "they have several different hosts, but it's always the same show. Republicans are no good. The NBC News people won't get caught dead on MSNBC."

He also spoke about another rival network, CNN: "For CNN to throw in the towel and announce they're out of the news business is quite interesting. That means Fox has won the cable news wars."

Asked why Fox brought back Sarah Palin just a few months after not renewing her contract, Ailes says: "The only two people I knew who got worse press than her were Richard Nixon and George W. Bush — some of it unfairly, much of it unfair to her family. She's recognizable, she's attractive, and she still has the message of stop raising taxes.

"Congress can't stop spending money. I'm not a defender of everything she says. I don't hear everything she says. But I know she represents a certain group of people who rose up against their own party, which you rarely see. I probably hired her back, if you really want to get to the bottom of it, to give her a chance to say her piece and [anger] the people that wanted her dead."

Ailes was also asked if he thinks about retiring. He quips: "Yeah, every 15 minutes."

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