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CNN Tried to Snare Television Rights to O’Reilly’s “Killing Jesus”

Bill O’Reilly, who gives liberals fits every night on his top-rated program on the Fox News Channel, has become such a successful author that cable networks are fighting over the television rights to his books.

CNN [1]The TV movie adaptation of O’Reilly’s first book, Killing Lincoln, aired on the National Geographic Channel in mid-February and pulled in 3.5 million viewers, setting a record for the channel.

National Geographic will air a movie based on O’Reilly’s second book, Killing Kennedy, later this year.

The unexpected success of Killing Lincoln sparked a bidding war for the rights to O’Reilly’s upcoming book, Killing Jesus, according to The New York Post, [2] with CNN being one of the most aggressive bidders.

New CNN president Jeff Zucker reportedly bid as much as $2.5 million for the rights to the book, which National Geographic secured.

While it may seem an odd move by Zucker, he is trying to revive the network’s ratings, and O’Reilly’s books are hot commodities. It would probably give CNN a big boost, especially during the little-watched weekends.

I wouldn’t be surprised if O’Reilly was secretly hoping that CNN would prevail––if just to see a rival network that O’Reilly helped topple in the ratings, promote his work. But it wasn’t meant to be.

Killing Jesus is set to be released on September 24, meaning the movie version is probably at least a year away.