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O’Reilly Leaves the Door Open to Leaving Fox News

In an interview with Deadline that was published earlier this week, Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly wouldn’t commit to remaining with the network when his contract expires next year.

O’Reilly was asked whether he would consider exiting the network, since he was conceivably at the top of his game with his bestselling The Killing series of books, and his show The O’Reilly Factor, which finished as the top rated cable news show for the 15th consecutive year:

O’REILLY: Well, I don’t look at it that way because it’s a matter of whether I think that continuing the books and the TV show is a positive for me in my life, and also for all the people who work for me. I have to think about them too, so it’s a complicated decision. Certainly, it’s not like it was 10 years ago that’s for sure. If I feel that it’s too much and I don’t want to do this kind of work, I don’t want to work this hard, then I’ll walk away.

DEADLINE: So, as of yet, you haven’t determined which way you’re going to go on that one?

O’REILLY: No, because there are a lot of factors involved with it. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.

It’s not likely that O’Reilly will leave Fox. He has the top-rated show on the top-rated cable news network, sells a ton of books and his “The Spin Stops Here” tour with Dennis Miller and Jesse Watters is a hit with fans across the country, and helps solidify O’Reilly’s stature at the network.

If anything, O’Reilly’s comments are probably more of a negotiating ploy, as he seeks a big raise from his reported $8 million salary to something closer, if not higher, than the $20 million that Megyn Kelly is reportedly seeking.

O’Reilly is probably not worth that much to the network, but they can ill afford to lose the lynchpin to their prime-time schedule. Thus, they are likely to pay whatever it takes to keep him.