Fox News has officially cut ties with Bill O’Reilly. Through the network’s parent company 21st Century Fox, the Murdochs issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon: “After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”
The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end. According to sources briefed on the discussions, network executives are preparing to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24. Now the big questions are how the exit will look and who will replace him.
Wednesday morning, according to sources, executives are holding emergency meetings to discuss how they can sever the relationship with the country’s highest-rated cable-news host without causing collateral damage to the network. The board of Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, is scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the matter.
the decision was primarily driven by Rupert Murdoch’s sons, James and Lachlan, after The New York Times reported earlier this month that $13 million has been paid out from either Fox News or O’Reilly to five women to settle their sexual harassment claims against the host in lieu of litigation, despite O’Reilly’s denying the veracity of their claims.
Fox News executives are reportedly meeting on Wednesday to discuss how to contain any damage from an O’Reilly dismissal. O’Reilly, who is currently on vacation, has hosted the network’s most popular show — The O’Reilly Factor — since the network’s inception in 1996 and remains the country’s highest-rated cable news host.
Sherman reports that “the board of Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, is scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the matter.”
Decisions are now being made as to whether O’Reilly will be allowed a final show to bid farewell to his audience. They are also discussing the terms of his release, with O’Reilly recently having signed a new long-term $20 million a year contract.
Executives within the company are also discussing who will fill O’Reilly’s primetime 8 pm slot, with hosts such as Eric Bolling, Dana Perino, and Tucker Carlson currently under consideration.