NEW YORK — Fox News’ signature star Bill O’Reilly is close to signing a new multiyear deal with the news cabler that insiders say could top $20 million.
O’Reilly’s agent declined to comment on the negotiations, and a Fox News spokesman said the $20 million figure is off target. “We’re still in negotiations, and we’re optimistic we’ll reach an agreement that’s amiable to both parties,” the spokesman said. O’Reilly’s current contract is set to expire this year.
The complicated deal would include bonuses that depend on ratings performance.
O’Reilly is giving CNN’s Larry King a run for the money. Year-to-date, “The O’Reilly Factor” is attracting an average of 1.08 million viewers, “Larry King Live” 1.17 million. CNN is available in 20 million more homes than Fox News.
While rumors circulated Monday that CNN was interested in nabbing O’Reilly, a source at the 24-hour news net said, “We have no intention of pursuing him.”
Meanwhile, O’Reilly’s book “The O’Reilly Factor: The Good, The Bad, and the Completely Ridiculous in American Life” has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 24 weeks.