Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly can’t hide his jealousy over Stephen Colbert taking over CBS’ The Late Show. O’Reilly’s latest shot is that conservatives won’t watch Colbert.
O’Reilly said, “Traditionally, late night has been light and breezy with a minimum of political posturing. Carson and Leno set the tone for that, but Colbert has built an entire career on pleasing the left, and if you don’t believe me, check out the reportage on his ascension. The far left websites and writers are thrilled, so he has to compete with Fallon and Kimmel, who are basically high energy guys who want to have good times on their shows. Be hard to fathom that 40% of Americans who describe themselves as conservatives will watch Colbert.”
Bill-O is, of course, wrong. Colbert’s audience isn’t just the left. According to a 2012 Pew Research study, Colbert’s audience is 12% Republican, 38% Independent, and 45% Democrat. Bill O’Reilly’s show is an example of a host that is playing to one side of the aisle. Bill-O’s audience is 52% Republican, 30% Independent, and 15% Democrat. O’Reilly has third highest percentage of Republicans watching his show. He trails on Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh’s radio show in terms of Republican partisanship.
Republican and conservative aren’t the same thing. Some Independents are disgruntled Republicans, and a portion of them are probably already watching Colbert.
O’Reilly is exhibiting all the signs of jealousy. The truth is that he may be the top dog on cable news, but Bill O’Reilly is a minuscule fish compared to network television. Steven Colbert is going to walk in the door, and draw more viewers than The O’Reilly Factor from day one. Colbert’s baseline is the three million plus viewers that Letterman currently draws. If his show is successful, Stephen Colbert will leave Bill O’Reilly in the dust. Colbert will be the one that people are talking about the next morning at work and school. O’Reilly will have to face that he is not the national superstar that he thinks he is.
Colbert better hope that Fox News viewers don’t watch him. Colbert won’t be hosting the Late Show for very long if his average audience is 65 years old, like it is at Fox News. Stephen Colbert is the future. Bill O’Reilly is the past. Since Colbert won’t be doing his Colbert Report character when he goes to CBS, it is clear that Bill O’Reilly is upset because Colbert is poised to become the star that he never was.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association