Just seven advertisements ran on Thursday’s "The O'Reilly Factor" on Fox News after nearly 60 companies this week reportedly dropped their sponsorships of the highly rated prime-time program.
The hourlong series can run as many as 40 commercials during a typical night.
The increasing ad pulls follow a Saturday New York Times report that host Bill O'Reilly paid $13 million to five women to settle sexual harassment allegations.
O'Reilly's ratings have not suffered as a result of the controversy as the 67-year-old host has outpaced his closest competition, "The Rachel Maddow Show," by more than a million viewers on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday this week, according to Nielsen Research.
Ratings reports show "The O'Reilly Factor" has averaged more than 3.67 million viewers while Maddow has averaged 2.51 million total viewers. O'Reilly has also edged the surging Maddow in the key 25–54 demographic that advertisers covet most two of three days this week.
O'Reilly usually pushes back aggressively at critics on his program but has not addressed this week’s controversy.
He has reportedly hired noted crisis communications expert Mark Fabiani, who once served as special counsel and legal spokesperson for President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonVirginia governor's race enters new phase as early voting begins Business coalition aims to provide jobs to Afghan refugees Biden nominates ex-State Department official as Export-Import Bank leader MORE and his administration from 1994 to 1996.
O’Reilly said in a weekend statement that being a well-known public figure makes him vulnerable to lawsuits and that the settlements were made to put “any controversies” to rest.
“Just like other prominent and controversial people, I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity,” the statement read. “In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.
“But most importantly, I’m a father who cares deeply for my children and who would do anything to avoid hurting them in any way. And so I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children."
Also cutting into Thursday’s ad time was breaking news: The United States' missile strikes against Syria were announced during the show’s second half.
CNN reports that more than 60 companies have pulled their ads from “The O’Reilly Factor,” including: Mercedes-Benz, Advil, Hyundai, BMW of North America, Mitsubishi Motors, Lexus, Constant Contact, Bayer, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, Orkin, Untuckit, Allstate, Esurance, T. Rowe Price, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, Credit Karma, Wayfair, TrueCar, the Society for Human Resource Management and The Wonderful Company.
Fox News said in a statement Tuesday that the ads had been moved to other programs on the network.
"We value our partners and are working with them to address their current concerns about the O’Reilly Factor. At this time, the ad buys of those clients have been re-expressed into other FNC programs," said Paul Rittenberg, Fox's executive vice president of advertising sales.
"The O'Reilly Factor" has been the top-rated program in cable news for the past 15 years.