Bill O’Reilly is easily one of the most famous – and most well-paid – political commentators in the country. O’Reilly first worked nationally for CBS News in the early 1980s before joining ABC News. In 1989, he was picked to co-host Inside Edition and stayed there until 1995. The following year, he was hired to join the then-new Fox News Channel by CEO Roger Ailes. He has hosted The O’Reilly Factor ever since.
In addition to his successful television career, the conservative pundit has written several books. He’s currently Killing history figures, co-writing the books Killing Jesus, Killing Kennedy and Killing Lincoln. A sixth book in the franchise is on its way this fall.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, O’Reilly has an estimated net worth of $85 million.
Here’s a look at how he earns his money and what he does with it.
1. O’Reilly Makes at Least $20 Million A Year At Fox News
It was previously estimated that O’Reilly makes between $15 million and $17 million a year. According to Page Six, Megyn Kelly was planning to demand Fox News pay her as much as O’Reilly. She’s current’s earning $9 million a year and is signed through 2017.
It’s been reported that there is a rivalry between Kelly and O’Reilly, even though they work at the same network. CNNMoney reported last year that Kelly’s show even beat O’Reilly in the 25-54 demographic, ending a streak as the top-rated cable show in the demo since 2005. O’Reilly still had more viewers though, with 2.87 million. In February 2016, O’Reilly averaged over 3 million viewers for a week.
On October 26, The Wall Street Journal reported that Kelly was seeking a $20 million salary for her next contract, which the Journal notes is around what O’Reilly makes. O’Reilly’s contract is over at the end of 2017. “We’re going to want Bill to stay with us,” Rupert Murdoch told the Journal.
2. O’Reilly Supports 24 Charities, Focuses on Helping Veterans
In case anyone doubts his dedication to charitable causes, O’Reilly lists 24 favorite charities on his website. Many of these focus on helping veterans and wounded soldiers. These include the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing to veterans and their families; the Independence Fund, which helps severely injured veterans; and TroopsDirect, a non=profit that helps soldiers currently serving lead healthy lives.
Other foundations on O’Reilly’s list include the NYC Coalition for the Homeless, The Haitian Health Foundation, Families of Military Casualties, Autism Speaks and Sesame Workshop.
In 2013, O’Reilly’s ongoing feud with Al Sharpton developed into an argument on food stamps after a segment on The O’Reilly Factor. Sharpton accused him of “attacking the poor” and O’Reilly responded by telling his audience that he donated $25,000 to Sharpton’s charity once. Sharpton later told Politico that the donation couldn’t stop him from criticizing O’Reilly anyway.
3. O’Reilly Earns an Estimated $24 Million Just From His ‘Killing’ Books
It sounds a bit cliche at this point to say O’Reilly is making a “killing” off of his Killing book series, but it’s true. Forbes reports that O’Reilly earns $24 million from the books alone. by March 2015, Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy, Killing Jesus and Killing Patton had sold a combined 6.8 million copies, according to CNNMoney. The fifth book in the series is Killing Reagan and every book is co-written with Martin Dugard. Publisher Henry Holt said in April 2016 that the total number of copies sold had climbed to 14.5 million.
In September, O’Reilly will release the sixth book, Killing The Rising Sun. Henry Holt told USA Today that the book will focus on the Pacific Theater in World War II and the creation of the atomic bombs.
The books haven’t been without controversy. Killing Reagan was criticized by former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who dismissed the idea that the failed assassination attempt on Reagan changed the president’s personality.
Still, the books have been so successful that National Geographic has turned Killing Lincoln, Killing Kennedy and Killing Jesus into TV movies.
4. O’Reilly Bought a $7.6 Million Property & Demolished it
O’Reilly has deep ties with Long Island, as he grew up in Levittown and now lives in Manhasset. The Manhasset home is where O’Reilly allegedly assaulted his ex-wife, Maureen McPhilmy. The two divorced in 2011 and O’Reilly denied the claim. In May 2016, Gawker reported that O’Reilly was planning to sue McPhilmy for $10 million.
In 2013, O’Reilly bought a Montauk oceanfront property listed at $8.5 million for $7.6 million on the opposite end of Long Island. Then in January 2014, the New York Daily News reported that he demolished the old-style cottage, which had been built during World War II by photographer James Abbe. He then enlisted Farrell Building Co. to build a new mansion on the property.
5. O’Reilly Refuses to Take Financial Advice on Investments
While some wealthy celebrities like to have others tell them what to do with their money, O’Reilly said in a 2002 New York Times interview that he doesn’t take advice from anyone but himself when it comes to investments. At the time, he had half of his portfolio in municipal bonds.
“I worked too hard for my money. I am not going to give it to some guy to do what he wants to do,” O’Reilly told the Times in 2002. He also said that he believes in technology, even though those stocks were hit hard at the time.
While O’Reilly might not take money advice from anyone himself, he often tells his viewers and writes about his economic views.
Surprisingly, he defended Hillary Clinton’s infamous “dead broke” comment. “The jackals swarmed. And I’m saying hold it, when you come from a place where she came from you see money differently, because I come from that place,” O’Reilly told the Hollywood Reporter in June 2016. “And she appreciated that. But see that’s the kind of thing that I’ll do. I’m not in the business of ideology.”
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