Bill O’Reilly has been on Fox News since 1996, as the host of the political commentary program The O’Reilly Factor on the Fox News Channel. Previously O’Reilly worked as a news reporter for various local television stations including CBS and ABC News. He also has been an anchor of the Inside Edition.
The “O’Reilly Factor” has had a large following – almost 3 to 4 million viewers a night. Due to that following, O’Reilly has been in demand for speaking engagements and has received handsome funds because of it. O’Reilly has also been an author to several best-selling books, including “Killing Reagan”, “Killing Patton”, “Killing Jesus”, “Killing Lincoln” and many others. Could his next book be “Killing O’Reilly”?
In simple terms, O’Reilly has generated a lot of revenue for the Fox News Channel. And his ratings have remained remained in the stratosphere. The O’Reilly Factor” is by far the highest-rated program on cable news. But most of O’Reilly’s advertisers abandoned the show in the wake of the recent allegations and the Times’ story. Now, Fox has made it official – O’Reilly is OUT!
H/T Fox News:
Fox News is cutting ties with Bill O’Reilly, the biggest star in its 20-year history, after mounting allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior prompted the network to end his program.
Today’s decision seemed unimaginable a few short weeks ago, given O’Reilly’s long reign as the top-rated host in cable news. The first three months of this year were not only the most-watched quarter in the history of The O’Reilly Factor, it also set the record for the highest viewership of any single program in the history of cable news programming.
But the climate shifted dramatically after The New York Times reported on April 1 that O’Reilly or Fox had paid $13 million to settle five cases against him alleging sexual or other harassment. More than 50 advertisers withdrew from his prime-time show, and 21st Century Fox asked a law firm to investigate a complaint from a woman who said O’Reilly dropped efforts to make her a contributor in 2013 after she turned down his invitation to visit his hotel room.
O’Reilly, 67, at first, had not commented on his status since leaving on vacation last week—he met Pope Francis today in a VIP line at the Vatican—but his lawyer issued a blistering statement yesterday accusing his liberal opponents of a “smear campaign.” The statement said O’Reilly “has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America.”
In the wake of the news, O’Reilly issued a statement late on Wednesday:
“Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television.”
He went on to add,
“It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today.”
In closing he stated,
“I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.”
Starting Monday, Fox will air Tucker Carlson’s show an hour earlier, in O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. ET slot, and move the popular ensemble show “The Five” from 5 to 9 p.m. On May 1, “Five” member Eric Bolling will debut a one-hour program at 5 p.m., and Martha MacCallum will make her “First 100 Days” show permanent at 7 p.m.
O’Reilly’s departure comes nine months after Fox News founder Roger Ailes was forced out as chairman following a sexual harassment lawsuit by former host Gretchen Carlson and allegations by at least a half-dozen women, all of which he denied. One of them was Megyn Kelly, who also clashed with O’Reilly and who decided to leave Fox for NBC last December.
(Pictured Rupert Murdoch with sons, James and Lachlan)
The net result is not just a transformation of Fox’s prime-time lineup, which has trounced the cable competition, but an effort by Rupert Murdoch and his sons, James and Lachlan, to change the company’s culture and make clear that harassment is unacceptable. That became increasingly difficult, and spawned resentment among some female staffers, as O’Reilly’s problems became a dominant news story.
It’s too bad that O’Reilly was hit with all these sexual harassment allegations. Fox News viewers will miss him, but they will move on. It’s certainly been a bumpy road at Fox in the last year or so, but the news was not a total suprise.
A cryptic tweet from Matt Drudge — who rarely uses his social media account — seemed to imply he knew that O’Reilly was finished.
O’Reilly has had tremendous run. Very few in the business get to decide when and how things end. Media is most brutal of all industries…
O’Reilly is the third major player to leave the network in the span of nine months. Ailes’ resignation last July was the result of sexual harassment charges by women at the network, including Megyn Kelly, who herself left Fox in January. O’Reilly defended Ailes when the women first came forward.
it is not clear if Fox will allow him back on the air to do a sign-off to his faithful audience, which averages over 3 million viewers per night.
The top-rated host recently signed a multi-year contract worth a reported $20 million per year, which means Fox could have a large pay out of a pretty hefty amount.
O’Reilly is on vacation in Italy since last week. Looks like Bill can enjoy the vacation a little bit longer now. The Spin Stops Here!
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