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O'Reilly's the Big Winner

11/5/2008 5:41 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Make no mistake about it: Barack Obama isn't the only one who hit the jackpot last night.

We're actually going to get serious on this one. FOX News Channel has got to be celebrating today. Bill O'Reilly can have a field day with the new Prez, and there may be no one else on that field to challenge him.

MSNBC's decision to cheer on Obama worked during the election. Keith Olbermann's ratings and demos are definitely up. But here's the dilemma: MSNBC has squarely taken sides and courted an audience that now expects good news about the Prez elect. That's somewhat true about CNN as well. But here's the problem with TV -- viewers get bored with cheerleaders, even if they agree with them.

So what's O'Reilly gonna do? He's already got a huge lead in the ratings. Will he go for the jugular? He actually took our call today and said, "We are going to be the watchdogs. We don't know what Obama is going to do. It's my job to explain every move he makes, but I'm not going to nitpick him."

Here's what's interesting -- O'Reilly doesn't really have to attack if MSNBC and CNN throw softballs. Being somewhat neutral could end up actually looking edgy, and viewers like edgy.

One final thing. O'Reilly actually told us he kinda blew it with Bush. He said he never looked at the way Bush was handling the economy until it was too late.

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