Published April 29, 2004
Bill O'Reilly joined FOX News Channel (FNC) as the anchor/host of The O'Reilly Factor in 1996. The O'Reilly Factor (8-9:00PM ET/PT Mondays through Fridays), the most-watched program on cable news, has caused the powerful in America to duck for cover as the rigidly enforced "No Spin Zone" deals with the nation's most important issues in a straightforward and provocative manner.
From humble beginnings on Long Island, New York, Bill O'Reilly has risen to become "the new pope of TV Journalism" according to television critic Marvin Kitman. In 2000, The Factor (as O'Reilly refers to it) passed Larry King Live to become the number one cable news program in the United States. Both of O'Reilly's non-fiction books, The O’Reilly Factor, and The No Spin Zone have each reached number one on The New York Times bestseller list. His novel Those Who Trespass has been optioned for the screen by Mel Gibson’s Icon Productions.
While growing up O'Reilly had no idea that journalism would be his calling. He lived in a modest house with his father, mother and sister in the Westbury section of Levittown. O'Reilly began working in his early in his teens mowing lawns, which evolved into a house painting business.
Upon graduating from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York with a degree in History, he taught high school for two years in Miami, Florida. O'Reilly returned to school to pursue a Masters in Broadcast Journalism from Boston University.
After receiving his Master's degree, O'Reilly began his television news career in Scranton, Pennsylvania, followed by stops in Dallas, Denver, Portland, Oregon, Hartford, and Boston. He received an Emmy Award for his report on sky-jacking at KMGH-TV in Denver. In 1980, he anchored his own program on WCBS-TV in New York and received an Emmy Award during his tenure there. Later he became a CBS News correspondent covering the wars in El Salvador and the Falkland Islands, among other assignments.
In 1986, Bill O'Reilly joined ABC News as a correspondent on The World News Tonight. During his three year tenure, he appeared on the show more than one hundred times and two National Headliner Awards for excellence in reporting.
O'Reilly's career changed in 1989 when he joined the nationally syndicated Inside Edition as senior correspondent and backup anchor. Within three weeks, he took over the anchor chair from David Frost. During his six years at Inside Edition, the show was one of the highest-rated "infotainment" programs in America.
In 1995, O'Reilly left to enroll in the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University where he received a Master's Degree in Public Policy. Upon leaving Harvard, Roger Ailes, chairman and CEO of the then startup FOX News Channel, hired O'Reilly to anchor The O'Reilly Factor.
Bill O'Reilly continues to live on Long Island where his best friends are guys with whom he attended first grade.