Will Controversial Picture of Miley Cyrus Hurt the Teen Queen?

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," April 28, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" segment tonight: As we reported last week, kid superstar Miley Cyrus getting some bad publicity because of pictures she posed for. The latest controversy appears in Vanity Fair magazine, where the 15-year-old actress sat for what some consider inappropriate photographs for a 15-year-old girl. Apparently her parents were on the set when she did this.

Ms. Cyrus has now apologized, and the Disney company is very worried because she could be a one-billion-dollar franchise. With us now is FOX News business anchor Terry Keenan and Lea Goldman, the features editor of Marie Claire magazine.

How much damage, Ms. Goldman, do you feel that Miley Cyrus has done to herself?

LEA GOLDMAN, FEATURES EDITOR, MARIE CLAIRE MAGAZINE: Well, I think Miley definitely took on tremendous risk here. She is a multimillion-dollar brand in the making. I mean, there are some estimates that say she could be a billion-dollar brand. I think that is conceivable. But not with this on her back. Why? Everyone talks about the tween merchandising gig. That's where the money is at.


GOLDMAN: Tween, tween, tween. Who's picking up the bill for those? It's the parents.

O'REILLY: Right.

GOLDMAN: And it's the parents who get — are the gatekeepers. They say, no, this is not who I want my kids emulating.

O'REILLY: What I don't understand is that her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, has been pretty canny so far about marketing the girl, keeping the girl out of scandal. They go into a Vanity Fair situation, which is not her audience at all. Vanity Fair is a bunch of older liberals, you know, looking for whatever they're looking for. They're not looking for her. Puts her into a position of — remember the Brooke Shields stuff when she was little?

GOLDMAN: A little before my age but, yes, I remember well.

O'REILLY: But you know, Brooke Shields played a part in the movie that was beyond her age. Jodie Foster, same thing. Put her into that situation where she becomes, at 15, a sex symbol.

Now, middle America, which is driving all of this merchandise and watches, they don't like this. So I'm figuring out is there nobody in here who's got a clue on why this Miley Cyrus is popular?

GOLDMAN: Well, I think you are never going to hear anyone in the Cyrus clan fess up to really what the agenda was.

O'REILLY: What could it possibly have been?

GOLDMAN: The shelf life for the "Hannah Montana" superstar fandom is nearing its end.

O'REILLY: Two years.

GOLDMAN: And she's looking behind that. Two years, if that.

If you look at Seventeen magazine, do you think Seventeen magazine, its audience runs up to 17?


GOLDMAN: We're talking about kids much younger. She's seeing the light at the end. She's seeing the end of...

O'REILLY: If you have a two-year billion-dollar shelf life, you don't throw that away.

Now, Disney has got to be going nuts, Terry, right?

TERRY KEENAN, FOX NEWS BUSINESS ANCHOR: They have to be very upset, Bill. I mean, you can't underestimate the value of the "Hannah Montana" brand and what it does for the Disney Channel. The Disney Channel is the fastest growing part of Walt Disney. And you know, we're going into tough economic times. We're in tough economic times. This is a very cyclical company in terms of its theme parks.

But you have the Disney Channel on fire, all the merchandising from "Hannah Montana." And they manage this brand, the brand of "Hannah Montana," Miley Cyrus, as carefully as they manage the image of...

O'REILLY: Mickey Mouse.

KEENAN: ...Mickey Mouse.

O'REILLY: Absolutely.

KEENAN: I think, for them, you know, they came out and said that she was manipulated by Vanity Fair in order to sell magazines.

O'REILLY: I don't believe that.

KEENAN: They're supporting her. But that's the Disney comment, whether you believe it or not. But it was interesting. Last week there was a comment from a Disney executive, and I think it was a gentle warning to Miley. And it said that being a good girl is business for her.

O'REILLY: Absolutely. Absolutely.

KEENAN: That basically sums it up. She has to be a good girl.

O'REILLY: How much damage, in your opinion, has Miley Cyrus done to herself and her career?

KEENAN: I think she's done moderate damage. Three on a scale of 1 to 10. But I think she has to be extremely careful.

O'REILLY: Now, she has apologized, Lea. That's a smart move. Should she do anything more?

GOLDMAN: I think you're going to see the contrite Miley Cyrus hit the road now. She's not going to be doing, I think, as visible appearances.

But the one thing I think is important to take note of here is that the "Hannah Montana" brand is owned by Disney. That's not where her cash cow is going to be. It might be Disney's cash cow, but it's not Miley Cyrus' cash cow.

O'REILLY: But she can...

GOLDMAN: She's going to look to transition into roles that have nothing to do with Disney.

O'REILLY: Fifteen.

KEENAN: Remember, Lindsay Lohan...

GOLDMAN: Exactly.

KEENAN: ...stuck with the Disney studio for years.

O'REILLY: Here's the bottom line: If middle Americans, if they don't like you for whatever reason, I'm not saying this happened. I think Miley Cyrus is a nice girl. I think this is just a bad decision, and I think that she and her parents should do "Oprah." That's what I would do.

GOLDMAN: They just did "Oprah." You would be back on the road again.

O'REILLY: I would be on that plane to Chicago right now and saying we made a mistake, here's why, we're sorry, and it won't happen again. That's where you go.

Ladies, thanks very much.

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