Jesse Watters the object of a struggle between Fox News and Bill O’Reilly

It was inevitable that following the divorce between Fox News and Bill O'Reilly, a custody battle would break out over Jesse Watters.  For years, fans of the network and O'Reilly have watched as the older veteran mentored a young up-and-comer on his staff that he took a shining to.  While others at Fox who did not get similar patronage from a bigfoot may have cringed, as an outsider, I enjoyed watching the process of mentoring unfold as Watters developed trademark gestures and expressions and as he honed his craft.

Watters may have set the record for interviewing women in bikinis

I felt some degree of concern for Watters when it was announced that O'Reilly was leaving.  There must be many jealous colleagues who covet his airtime now that his protector is gone and in bad odor among the surviving suits in management.  But the first sign of conflict came out of the speaking tour O'Reilly has run with Dennis Miller over the years.

Ken Meyer reports at Mediaite:

If you've been listening to Bill O'Reilly's No Spin News podcast, you might've heard the former Fox host say that he's getting back together with his old protégé, Jesse Watters. Well, according to a new report, Fox News is actively trying to keep that from happening.

The former Fox ratings king announced earlier this week that he will soon be launching "The Spin Stops Here Tour," a series of political shows starring O'Reilly, Watters and regular Fox contributor Dennis Miller. However, CNN's Tom Kludt reports that he heard from Fox insiders who say the network is looking at Watters' contract in order to get him off the tour before he appears with O'Reilly in several upcoming shows.

It would surprise me if Fox had not included in his contract their own right to veto any outside appearances Watters might make.  I am fairly certain that Watters will not be accompanying Miller and O'Reilly at their next engagements.

Apparently, Dennis Miller's contract with Fox contains no such approval rights.  That also makes sense, as he was a well established performer with many concert dates that derive not from his status at Fox, but from his long career as a successful comedian.  Given the powerful chemistry between Miller and O"Reilly, I doubt that Miller will be guesting on the Tucker Carlson show the way he did weekly on The O'Reilly Factor.

If rumors that a new news-talk network is being planned are true, the O'Reilly-Miller combo might be its strongest initial show.

As for Watters, he may find himself in a position where he must make a fateful decision on his future.

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