Bill O'Reilly debuted a 30-minute webcast on Wednesday, marking his return to an on-camera role after being ousted from Fox News earlier this year.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 30-minute-long news show, shot inside a studio and made available online to premium subscribers to his website. The show will then be made available to the non-paying public on Thursday.
For the last few months, since leaving Fox News, O'Reilly has produced a daily No Spin News podcast that's available only to subscribers. The goal of the studio show, he said at the end of the program, is to "bring everybody into the annual premium membership fold and spread the word."
Compared to the short-sleeve golf shirt he normally wears when taping his podcast, O'Reilly was dressed in a suit and wore a dress shirt made by a company that he advertised at the end of the show. During a commercial break, he advertised his stage show with Dennis Miller and his ever-growing catalogue of history books.
Topically, it was a standard O'Reilly program. He interviewed two guests via Skype, the first radio and TV host Michael Smerconish and the second syndicated columnist Ruben Navarrette, who had called O'Reilly "the king of cable" in a "farewell" column in April.
Smerconish, who has a daily show on SiriusXM radio and hosts a show on CNN on Saturdays, was introduced as an "old pal" of O'Reilly.
O'Reilly has been promoting his online TV debut for weeks, though some have questioned whether he can make an OTT offering work. He admitted, in an Aug. 3 podcast, that older viewers might not be comfortable watching his show on a computer.
During the live webcast, O’Reilly welcomed his “Philadelphia bud” Michael Smerconish, a SiriusXM host (formerly with Talk WPHT 210 AM) and Inquirer columnist. O'Reilly brought up CNN, which he described as part of the “Hate Trump media” overflowing with “hour after hour of speculation” involving claims of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Smerconish, who hosts a weekend program on CNN, said he thought some personalities on the network and at other news outlets may go overboard at times.
“I think there have been people out there who have been lying in wait for this president since before the inauguration,” Smerconish said, “I think there are some who go after him and make it their livelihood to do so.”
But, reports philly.com, Smerconish stopped short of saying CNN as a network was attempting to undermine Trump, as O’Reilly and others have claimed.
O'Reilly will appear on Michael Smerconish's CNN program sometime in September. The appearance will be part of a promotional campaign for O'Reilly's next book in the "Killing" series, "Killing England," which will hit bookshelves next month. O'Reilly has often appeared on other channels while promoting his books, though he has never appeared on CNN before.