The O'Reilly Factor is generally pre-recorded, though on occasion it airs live if breaking news or special events are being covered (e.g. presidential addresses that occur during prime-time & debate coverage). It is usually taped between 5:00 and 7:00 PM Eastern Time and airs weekdays at 8:00 PM and 11:00 PM. The show is recorded "live to tape", meaning that the recording breaks for commercials as if the show was actually on the air while being recorded. Some guests are interviewed before the "live to tape" period and are slotted in the program as appropriate.
O'Reilly and his producers discuss potential topics twice a week. A producer will research the story and book guests for O'Reilly, and an information packet will be produced with possible angles for O'Reilly to explore.
For each show, O'Reilly, with the assistance of his staff, will produce a script with the words for the "Talking Points Memo" and "Tip of the Day" segments, and points of discussion and questions for the guests that will appear on the program.
On February 2, 2009, the show launched in high definition and moved to the studio previously used by the Fox Report.
Eric Bolling is the current regular guest host, though Jesse Watters, Chris Wallace, Juan Williams, Monica Crowley, Laura Ingraham, and Greg Gutfeld have also filled in.
The show is divided into titled segments, appearing in the following general order. Not all segments appear in all programs, and occasionally segments will repeat.Truth Serum: A segment in which O'Reilly evaluates a statement made by a politician for truthfulness.
Talking Points Memo: O'Reilly's commentary on a current event or the state of the country.
Top Story: O'Reilly covers one of the important news stories of the day, with interviews with newsmakers, noted analysts, or Fox News Channel reporters. If there is nothing breaking, the Top Story will often expand on the subject covered in the Talking Points Memo with a guest that either rebuts or concurs with the memo.
Impact: O'Reilly focuses on issues of crime and the law in this segment. Updates on criminal investigations, trials, and lawsuits are highlighted. Other times, issues relating to government relations and agencies are featured, as are stories about the Iraq War.
Unresolved Problem: O'Reilly focuses on an issue that he feels is not sufficiently covered by other media.
Personal Story: O'Reilly invites an author of a best selling book, a newsmaker thrust into the spotlight, someone who has experienced an event currently in the news, or someone who has interviewed a newsmaker.
Factor Follow-Up: O'Reilly revisits an issue discussed in a previous edition of the Factor.
Back of the Book: Various topics will be placed in this segment, which is one of the last segments (hence the name). Two examples are "Reality Check" and the "Great American Culture Quiz", in which O'Reilly quizzes two Fox News colleagues (usually Steve Doocy and Martha MacCallum) on pop culture.
Factor Mail: O'Reilly reads brief snippets of Email sent to him. He frequently puts together letters that have opposite viewpoints on a particular segment. For instance, one letter will say O'Reilly was excessively lenient toward a guest while the next will say he was excessively hard on him. He will also frequently read out a short verse, usually a limerick.
Pinheads and Patriots: A segment where O'Reilly praises someone he feels has done good things for the country or the culture, while chastising someone else he feels is committing specific harm or has simply made some sort of embarrassing blunder. In an experimental version of the segment, during early 2011, O'Reilly would roll a clip and the viewers would vote on whether the people in clip were "Patriotic" or "Pinheaded"; the new format was eventually scrapped and O'Reilly returned to declaring his "Pinheads" and "Patriots" unilaterally. The segment was retired in July 2012 and replaced with Tip of the Day. (Although "Pinheads of the Week" has since become a semi-regular segment on the show, somewhat replacing the daily segment.)
What the Heck Just Happened?: Bill talks with comedian Greg Gutfeld and talk-radio personality Bernard McGuirk about odd news stories of the week, or just to get their unique perspective on current events. Usually airs at the bottom of the hour each Friday, often accompanied with a bonus segment called "Pinheads of the Week."
Tip of the Day: At the end of each broadcast O'Reilly shares words of wisdom on daily living.
Word of the Day: When providing the email address for viewers to write, O'Reilly will state that when writing, "don't be" followed by a lesser-known word (i.e., "jejune", "morose", "a blooter"), implicitly challenging his viewers to discover the word's meaning.
Occasionally, the following segments appear:Children at Risk: O'Reilly covers issues relating to the health and well-being of children and adolescents.
Charles in Charge: A regular segment where O'Reilly seeks commentary from Charles Krauthammer about the week's political events.
Culture War: This segment which O'Reilly debates social issues that divide the country.
Culture Warriors O'Reilly talks to Jeanine Pirro and Gretchen Carlson about various subjects. (Margaret Hoover initially took Pirro's spot on the panel, until 2011.)
Did You See That?: Video clips are shown and discussed with Dagen McDowell.
Pinheads of the Week: Friday segment where the dumbest people of the week are nominated and discussed with Bernard McGuirk and Greg Gutfeld. Formerly called Dumbest Things of the Week, which featured Arthel Neville, and not McGuirk, as the second panelist.
Factor Investigation: O'Reilly invites guests who have investigated a person or organization that O'Reilly has criticized.
Fridays with Geraldo: Geraldo Rivera, of the Fox News-produced and syndicated Geraldo At Large, discusses a topic of interest to O'Reilly. Sometimes its own segment; other times rolled into one of the above segments.
Kelly File: A segment where O'Reilly talks to Megyn Kelly.
Great American News Quiz: Trivia questions are answered by Steve Doocy and Martha MacCallum.
The Ingraham Angle: A segment where O'Reilly talks to Laura Ingraham.
Is It Legal: Lis Wiehl and Kimberly Guilfoyle talk about legal matters.
Miller Time: A Wednesday segment where O'Reilly talks to Dennis Miller.
Policing the ...: A segment where O'Reilly reviews several sources for normally outlandish content. The "the" in the name is usually followed up by "net" (Internet), or Media.
The Most R!d!culous Item of the Day: Replaced by "Pinheads & Patriots", it was a brief segment highlighting an offbeat news item.
Factor Flashback: Normally aired during episodes in which someone fills in for O'Reilly; a replay of a previously aired segment.
Weekdays with Bernie: A segment where Bernard Goldberg discusses topics with O'Reilly (generally this segment will appear on Mondays).
Lou's the Boss: Business and economic issues are discussed with Lou Dobbs
Watters' World: A segment that airs every once in a while, in which Factor producer Jesse Watters goes out usually to interview people or visit places of national significance. It is a comedic take at the state of our nation.
Rollin' With Carolla: A weekly segment with outspoken comedian and radio personality Adam Carolla that deals with various social, political and religious issues.
The Hume Zone: A segment where O'Reilly talks with Fox News chief political analyst Brit Hume.
Early in 2009, the show's ratings increased. In July 2009, Hal Boedeker blogged that The O'Reilly Factor peaked at 3.1 million viewers which was an increase of 37% from the previous year. In September 2009, The O'Reilly Factor was the #1 cable news show for 106 consecutive weeks.
In May 2014, The O'Reilly Factor still held this top position, but average monthly viewers were down to 2.1 million, with a median age of 72 years.
In March 2015, The O'Reilly Factor remained at the number one spot on cable news ratings for its 60th consecutive quarter, experiencing 19% growth in viewership among individuals aged 25 to 54 years old.
O'Reilly's first guest was General Barry McCaffrey, then the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (or "Drug Czar"). Over the years, many other well-known political figures and celebrities have appeared regularly on the show.Tanya Acker, Democratic strategist
Glenn Beck, conservative radio talkshow host, founder of TheBlaze, and former Fox News Channel host
Lou Dobbs, host of Lou Dobbs Tonight on Fox Business Network; former CNN anchor/commentator; periodically appears at least once a month
Medea Benjamin, Code Pink co-founder
Tammy Bruce, Fox News contributor, author, talk radio host
Amanda Carpenter, national political reporter for Townhall.com; appears on Wednesdays
Neil Cavuto, Your World with Neil Cavuto host, Fox Business Network anchor, and frequent business advisory guest
Alan Colmes, liberal commentator, syndicated radio talk show host and Fox News Channel political contributor; appears on Wednesdays
Ann Coulter, conservative commentator and syndicated columnist
Monica Crowley, radio and television political commentator; appears on Wednesdays with Colmes
Jill Dobson, news & style editor for Star Magazine
Steve Doocy, co-anchor of Fox and Friends; appears Tuesdays on "The Great American News Quiz"
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House
Bernard Goldberg, former CBS correspondent and media analyst, often appears on Mondays
Kimberly Guilfoyle, legal analyst and co-host of The Five.
Greg Gutfeld, co-host of The Five and host of The Greg Gutfeld Show.
Eric Bolling, co- host of The Five (has also served several times as guest host).
Dana Perino former white house secretary and co-host of The Five .
Juan Williams, political contributor and co-host of The Five ; appears Mondays (has also served several times as guest host)
Mary Katharine Ham, Internet expert & blogger
Marc Lamont Hill, assistant professor of Urban Education at Temple University
Margaret Hoover, Republican consultant (often paired with Powers); appears on Mondays; related to former President Herbert Hoover
Juliet Huddy, Fox News fill-in anchor
Brit Hume, Senior Political Analyst and former White House correspondent
Colonel David Hunt, military adviser
Laura Ingraham, talk radio pundit and frequent special guest host; appears on Fridays
Alexander Julia, military adviser specializing in Cuban affairs
Megyn Kelly, host of The Kelly File; appears Tuesdays
Charles Krauthammer, Columnist for The Washington Post, frequently appears to provide commentary on O'Reilly's Talking Points Memo
Martha MacCallum, co-host of America's Newsroom; appears Tuesdays on "The Great American News Quiz"
Michelle Malkin, conservative commentator, Fox News contributor and frequent special guest host (is currently boycotting the show due to controversy involving remarks made against her by Geraldo Rivera over her position on illegal immigration).
Angela McGlowan, Fox News contributor
Dennis Miller, comedian; appears on Wednesdays
Dick Morris, Fox News political analyst, former advisor to Bill Clinton
Wendy Murphy, child advocate
Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst
Sarah Palin, vice presidential candidate in 2008, former Governor of Alaska, author, and Fox News contributor
Kirsten Powers, Democratic strategist, Fox News contributor; often paired with Hoover in segments; appears on Mondays
Robert Reich, fill-in host, former Secretary of Labor in President Clinton's administration
Tonya Reiman, certified hypnotist; appears Mondays as a body language expert
Karl Rove, former Deputy White House Chief of Staff under George W. Bush
Geraldo Rivera, Fox News reporter-at-large, host of Geraldo at Large on weekends; appears on Fridays
Trent Stamp, president of Charity Navigator
John Stossel, Fox Business Network anchor, former co-anchor of ABC's 20/20
Greta Van Susteren, host of On the Record
Jesse Watters, Factor field producer (host of Watters World Segment)
Lis Wiehl, former federal prosecutor and current Fox News legal analyst; appears Tuesdays (also had co-hosted Wednesdays and Thursdays on O'Reilly's radio program)
Bill Maher, host of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO
Bill O'Reilly had tried for years to get Hillary Clinton to come on the show. On April 30, 2008, Clinton agreed to come on the show as part of a pre-taped interview that would be broadcast over two days. O'Reilly also held an exclusive, four-part interview with then-presidential candidate Barack Obama. Both interviews drew significant media attention as they were front runners for the 2008 presidential election. In the same election cycle, Ron Paul and O'Reilly got into a testy exchange over the issue of Iran. The 2008 Republican candidate for Vice President, Sarah Palin, and then Democratic Vice President candidate Joe Biden were also invited to the show, but chose not to make an appearance.
In 2005, The Colbert Report premiered on Comedy Central. The show, hosted by Stephen Colbert, is a satirical spoof of pundit shows like The O'Reilly Factor, spoofing its format and the mannerisms and ideology of O'Reilly, whom Colbert calls "Papa Bear." Colbert makes no secret of his spoofing O'Reilly: upon hearing the news that O'Reilly approved of The Colbert Report, he declared on-air that "I like you too. In fact, if it wasn't for you, this show wouldn't exist." On January 18, 2007, Colbert appeared on The O'Reilly Factor and O'Reilly appeared on The Colbert Report.
The O'Reilly Factor has also been spoofed on Saturday Night Live, first by Jeff Richards and later on by Darrell Hammond. On MADtv it was Michael McDonald doing the honors. O'Reilly himself has appeared on MADtv. Richards also played O'Reilly in an episode of Mind of Mencia where O'Reilly is a senator in the year 2016.
The show was also spoofed by the TV series The Boondocks; first in the episode "The Trial of R. Kelly" where O'Reilly is shown talking about R. Kelly's latest legal trouble. Later in "Return of the King", O'Reilly is shown attacking Martin Luther King for saying that America should "love thy enemy" and "turn the other cheek", even in respects to the 9/11 attacks.
CNNNN, an Australian comedy show which satirized cable news, featured a recurring segment entitled "The Firth Factor". These segments typically showed Charles Firth, a member of the Chaser comedy team, presenting his opinion on topical issues, often through use of over-the-top comparisons (such as dipping a paper heart in a can of black paint and claiming: "This is how black Saddam Hussein's heart is") and outrageous statements in a parody of O'Reilly and Australian current affairs personalities. The Chaser's War on Everything also featured a segment in its second season where it poked fun at the O'Reilly Factor.