NEW YORK: Nielsen Media Research revealed Friday that Fox News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor achieved its second highest-ever ratings the preceding evening when the show's resident Rottweiler Bill O'Reilly played host to Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama.

The number of Americans tuning-in to TORF that night, an average of 6.6 million, was surpassed only by the same show's broadcast on March 19 2003 which trailered President Bush's declaration of war on Iraq.

O'Reilly, not given to rooting for the Democrats, conceded that Obama came out of Thursday's show well, further extracts of which will be broadcast on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.

But the real drama underlying Fox's interview coup took place before the event amid a plethora of politicking that is said to have involved Rupert Murdoch, Fox chairman Roger Ailes and the Kennedy clan – all of whom were reportedly involved in persuading the Democrat Daniel to enter the lion's den.

Or should that be Fox's den?

Data sourced from Hollywood; additional content by WARC staff