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The O'Reilly Factor

The O'Reilly Factor
The O'Reilly Factor title sequence shot
Also known as The O'Reilly Report (1996-1998)
Genre Talk show
Created by Bill O'Reilly
Presented by Bill O'Reilly
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 17
No. of episodes 5,321
Location(s) Rockefeller Center
New York City
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 60 minutes
Production company(s) Fox News Channel
Original channel Fox News Channel
Picture format 720p (16:9 HDTV)
Original release October 7, 1996 (1996-10-07) – present
External links

The O'Reilly Factor, originally titled The O'Reilly Report from 1996 to 1998[1] and often called The Factor, is an American cable television news and talk show on the Fox News Channel hosted by political commentator Bill O'Reilly, who often discusses current controversial political issues with guests.


  • Format 1
  • Segments 2
  • Audience 3
  • Guests 4
    • Regular guests 4.1
    • 2008 presidential contenders 4.2
  • Parodies 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


An example of The O'Reilly Factor's Talking Points Memo

The O'Reilly Factor is generally prerecorded, though on rare occasions it airs live if breaking news or special events are being covered (e.g. presidential addresses that occur during prime-time). It is usually taped between 5:00 and 7:00 PM Eastern Time and airs weekdays at 8:00 PM and 11:00 PM. The show is recorded "live to tape", meaning that the recording breaks for commercials as if the show was actually on the air while being recorded. Some guests are interviewed before the "live to tape" period and are slotted in the program as appropriate.[2]

O'Reilly and his producers discuss potential topics twice a week.[3] A producer will research the story and book guests for O'Reilly, and an information packet will be produced with possible angles for O'Reilly to explore.

For each show, O'Reilly, with the assistance of his staff, will produce a script with the words for the "Talking Points Memo" and "Tip of the Day" segments, and points of discussion and questions for the guests that will appear on the program.

On February 2, 2009, the show launched in high definition and moved to the studio previously used by the Fox Report.

Radio talk show host Laura Ingraham is the current regular guest host, though Mike Huckabee, Juan Williams, Monica Crowley, Eric Bolling, and Greg Gutfeld have also filled in.


The show is divided into titled segments, appearing in the following general order. Not all segments appear in all programs, and occasionally segments will repeat.

  • Truth Serum: A segment in which O'Reilly evaluates a statement made by a politician for truthfulness.
  • Talking Points Memo: O'Reilly's commentary on a current event or the state of the country.
  • Top Story: O'Reilly covers one of the important news stories of the day, with interviews with newsmakers, noted analysts, or Fox News Channel reporters. If there is nothing breaking, the Top Story will often expand on the subject covered in the Talking Points Memo with a guest that either rebuts or concurs with the memo.
  • Impact: O'Reilly focuses on issues of crime and the law in this segment. Updates on criminal investigations, trials, and lawsuits are highlighted. Other times, issues relating to government relations and agencies are featured, as are stories about the Iraq War.
  • Unresolved Problem: O'Reilly focuses on an issue that he feels is not sufficiently covered by other media.
  • Personal Story: O'Reilly invites an author of a best selling book, a newsmaker thrust into the spotlight, someone who has experienced an event currently in the news, or someone who has interviewed a newsmaker.
  • Factor Follow-Up: O'Reilly revisits an issue discussed in a previous edition of the Factor.
  • Back of the Book: Various topics will be placed in this segment, which is one of the last segments (hence the name). Two examples are "Reality Check" and the "Great American Culture Quiz", in which O'Reilly quizzes two Fox News colleagues (usually Steve Doocy and Martha MacCallum) on pop culture.
  • Factor Mail: O'Reilly reads brief snippets of Email sent to him. He frequently puts together letters that have opposite viewpoints on a particular segment. For instance, one letter will say O'Reilly was excessively lenient toward a guest while the next will say he was excessively hard on him. He will also frequently read out a short verse, usually a limerick.
  • Pinheads and Patriots: A segment where O'Reilly praises someone he feels has done good things for the country or the culture, while chastising someone else he feels is committing specific harm or has simply made some sort of embarrassing blunder. In an experimental version of the segment, during early 2011, O'Reilly would roll a clip and the viewers would vote on whether the people in clip were "Patriotic" or "Pinheaded"; the new format was eventually scrapped and O'Reilly returned to declaring his "Pinheads" and "Patriots" unilaterally. The segment was retired in July 2012 and replaced with Tip of the Day. (Although "Pinheads of the Week" has since become a semi-regular segment on the show, somewhat replacing the daily segment.)
  • What the Heck Just Happened?: Bill talks with comedian Greg Gutfeld and talk-radio personality Bernard McGuirk about odd news stories of the week, or just to get their unique perspective on current events. Usually airs at the bottom of the hour each Friday, often accompanied with a bonus segment called "Pinheads of the Week."
  • Tip of the Day: At the end of each broadcast O'Reilly shares words of wisdom on daily living.
  • Word of the Day: When providing the email address for viewers to write, O'Reilly will state that when writing, "don't be" followed by a lesser-known word (i.e., "jejune", "morose", "a blooter"), implicitly challenging his viewers to discover the word's meaning.

Occasionally, the following segments appear:

  • Barack and a Hard Place: A weekly segment where the best and worst things that U.S. President Barack Obama has done during the week are talked about with Alan Colmes and Monica Crowley.
  • Children at Risk: O'Reilly covers issues relating to the health and well-being of children and adolescents.
  • Charles in Charge: A regular segment where O'Reilly seeks commentary from Charles Krauthammer about the week's political events.
  • Culture War: This segment which O'Reilly debates social issues that divide the country.
  • Culture Warriors O'Reilly talks to Jeanine Pirro and Gretchen Carlson about various subjects. (Margaret Hoover initially took Pirro's spot on the panel, until 2011.)
  • Did You See That?: Video clips are shown and discussed with Dagen McDowell.
  • Pinheads of the Week: Friday segment where the dumbest people of the week are nominated and discussed with Bernard McGuirk and Greg Gutfeld. Formerly called Dumbest Things of the Week, which featured Arthel Neville, and not McGuirk, as the second panelist.
  • Factor Investigation: O'Reilly invites guests who have investigated a person or organization that O'Reilly has criticized.
  • Fridays with Geraldo: Geraldo Rivera, of the Fox News-produced and syndicated Geraldo At Large, discusses a topic of interest to O'Reilly. Sometimes its own segment; other times rolled into one of the above segments.
  • Kelly File: A segment where O'Reilly talks to Megyn Kelly.
  • Great American News Quiz: Trivia questions are answered by Steve Doocy and Martha MacCallum.
  • The Ingraham Angle: A segment where O'Reilly talks to Laura Ingraham.
  • Is It Legal: Lis Wiehl and Kimberly Guilfoyle talk about legal matters.
  • Miller Time: A Wednesday segment where O'Reilly talks to Dennis Miller.
  • Policing the ...: A segment where O'Reilly reviews several sources for normally outlandish content. The "the" in the name is usually followed up by "net" (Internet), or Media.
  • The Most R!d!culous Item of the Day: Replaced by "Pinheads & Patriots", it was a brief segment highlighting an offbeat news item.
  • Factor Flashback: Normally aired during episodes in which someone fills in for O'Reilly; a replay of a previously aired segment.
  • Weekdays with Bernie: A segment where Bernard Goldberg discusses topics with O'Reilly (generally this segment will appear on Mondays).
  • Lou's the Boss: Business and economic issues are discussed with Lou Dobbs
  • Watters' World: A segment that airs every two weeks on Monday, in which Factor producer Jesse Watters talks to the younger generation about a broad range of issues.
  • Rollin' With Carolla: A weekly segment with outspoken comedian and radio personality Adam Carolla that deals with various social, political and religious issues.


The stage previously used as the set of The O'Reilly Factor.

Early in 2009, the show's ratings increased.[4] In July 2009, Hal Boedeker blogged that The O'Reilly Factor peaked at 3.1 million viewers which was an increase of 37% from the previous year.[5] In September 2009, The O'Reilly Factor was the #1 cable news show for 106 consecutive weeks.[6]

In May 2014, The O'Reilly Factor still held this top position, but average monthly viewers were down to 2.1 million, with a median age of 72 years.[7]

In March 2015, The O'Reilly Factor remained at the number one spot on cable news ratings for its 60th consecutive quarter, experiencing 19% growth in viewership among individuals aged 25 to 54 years old.[8]


O'Reilly's first guest was General Barry McCaffrey, then the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (or "Drug Czar"). Over the years, many other well-known political figures and celebrities have appeared regularly on the show.

Regular guests

2008 presidential contenders

Bill O'Reilly had tried for years to get Hillary Clinton to come on the show.[10] On April 30, 2008, Clinton agreed to come on the show as part of a pre-taped interview that would be broadcast over two days.[11][12][13][14][15] O'Reilly also held an exclusive, four-part interview with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. Both interviews drew significant media attention as they were front runners for the 2008 presidential election. In the same election cycle, Ron Paul and O'Reilly got into a testy exchange over the issue of Iran. The 2008 Republican candidate for Vice President, Sarah Palin, and then Democratic Vice President candidate Joe Biden were also invited to the show, but chose not to make an appearance.[16]


In 2005, The Colbert Report premiered on Comedy Central. The show, hosted by Stephen Colbert, is a satirical spoof of pundit shows like The O'Reilly Factor, spoofing its format and the mannerisms and ideology of O'Reilly, whom Colbert calls "Papa Bear." Colbert makes no secret of his spoofing O'Reilly: upon hearing the news that O'Reilly approved of The Colbert Report, he declared on-air that "I like you too. In fact, if it wasn't for you, this show wouldn't exist."[17] On January 18, 2007, Colbert appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and O'Reilly appeared on The Colbert Report.[18][19]

The O'Reilly Factor has also been spoofed on Saturday Night Live, first by Jeff Richards and later on by Darrell Hammond. On MADtv it was Michael McDonald doing the honors. O'Reilly himself has appeared on MADtv.[20] Richards also played O'Reilly in an episode of Mind of Mencia where O'Reilly is a senator in the year 2016.

The show was also spoofed by the TV series The Boondocks; first in the episode "The Trial of R. Kelly" where O'Reilly is shown talking about R. Kelly's latest legal trouble. Later in "Return of the King", O'Reilly is shown attacking Martin Luther King for saying that America should "love thy enemy" and "turn the other cheek", even in respects to the 9/11 attacks.

CNNNN, an Australian comedy show which satirized cable news, featured a recurring segment entitled The Firth Factor. These segments typically showed Charles Firth, a member of the Chaser comedy team, presenting his opinion on topical issues, often through use of over-the-top comparisons (such as dipping a paper heart in a can of black paint and claiming: "This is how black Saddam Hussein's heart is") and outrageous statements in a parody of O'Reilly and Australian current affairs personalities. The Chaser's War on Everything also featured a segment in its second season where it poked fun at the O'Reilly factor.


  1. ^ [2] Cloapinto, John. (2004-08-11). "Mad Dog", Rolling Stone Archived July 2, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Bill O'Reilly: Behind the Scenes Q & A". 
  3. ^ "Bostonia - BU alumni quarterly". 2001. 
  4. ^ Gorman, Bill (February 6, 2009). "Obama Administration Boosts O’Reilly Factor TV Ratings". TVbytheNumbers. Retrieved May 27, 2010. 
  5. ^ Boedeker, Hal (July 28, 2009). "Fox News dominates July ratings; Bill O’Reilly again tops — and Nancy Grace makes impressive gains". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved May 27, 2010. 
  6. ^ Ariens, Chris (September 29, 2009). "Q3 Cable Ratings: FNC Shows Fill Top 10; #3 Network on Cable; Beck Grows Timeslot 136%". WebMediaBrands Inc. Media Bistro. Retrieved May 27, 2010. 
  7. ^ Gold, Hadas (May 29, 2014). "May cable news ratings spare no one". POLITICO. Retrieved 2015-04-05. 
  8. ^ "Q1 2015 Ratings: CNN Makes Big Demo Gains, MSNBC Hits Record Lows, Fox Continues Victories". Mediaite. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  9. ^ Malkin, Michelle. "Michelle Malkin » Stiiiiill going". Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  10. ^ By, Posted (2008-04-29). "SFGate: Politics Blog : Hillary Goes on O'Reilly Wednesday for first time!". Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  11. ^ "Hillary Clinton, meet Bill O'Reilly | Top of the Ticket | Los Angeles Times". 2008-04-29. Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  12. ^ "Chron.commons | - Houston Chronicle". Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  13. ^ Carl Macgowan. "Clinton to appear on O'Reilly show -". Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  14. ^ "The Hillary Factor | The Trail |". Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  15. ^ Rhee, Foon (2008-04-30). "Clinton's unusual political bedfellows - 2008 Presidential Campaign Blog - Political Intelligence -". Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  16. ^ Patrick. "O'Reilly: "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not acting." - FishbowlDC". Retrieved 2008-11-21. 
  17. ^ Solomon, Deborah (2005-09-25). "Funny About the News". New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2010-05-25. 
  18. ^ Stephen Colbert Enters the No Spin Zone. Published . Last Retrieved .
  19. ^ Bill O'Reilly Pt. 1. January 18, 2007. Last Retrieved.
  20. ^ MADtv" Episode #9.17 (2004) - Full cast and crew""". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved May 27, 2010. 
Preceded by
On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren
Fox News Channel Weekday Lineup
8:00 PM –9:00 PM
Succeeded by
The Kelly File
Preceded by
Fox News Channel Weekday Lineup
11:00 PM –12:00 PM (replay)
Succeeded by
The Kelly File (replay)

External links

Preceded by
On the Record
The O'Reilly Factory
8 PM ET - 9 PM ET
Succeeded by
The Kelly File
The Kelly File (Replay)
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