Sinclair, known for its conservative commentary, is continuing with the talks despite the sexual harassment cases that cost O'Reilly his job at Fox this year, the sources said. Last week, The New York Times reported that O’Reilly had settled a $32 million sexual harassment claim against him by a former legal analyst, Lis Wiehl. Sources said the news does not appear to have sidelined the talks.
"They took a pause but it didn't really change anything for them," one of the sources said.
O’Reilly has said the Times article was designed to hurt him in the marketplace. He told The Times that the report was “politically and financially motivated.”
The company did not initially return calls from NBC News about the latest round of talks, but after this article was first published, a spokeswoman denied that Sinclair was in discussions with O'Reilly.
Nonetheless, one of the sources, who is close to O’Reilly, said on Tuesday that the two sides were "about midway" through negotiations. A second source explained that Sinclair is considering putting O’Reilly on its local stations.
Sinclair currently owns or operates 173 U.S. television stations. In May, the company reached a deal to pay $3.9 billion for Tribune Media, and if the deal is approved by regulators, the company would control more than 220 stations.
“What you are going to see is a syndicated show, not a news channel,” said a source familiar with talks, “I know they’ve been talking about doing something in syndication and something that could air on WGN,” Tribune's flagship station.
The source said Sinclair is considering a two-hour block for O'Reilly, possibly beginning at 6 or 7 p.m.