Fox News has officially cut ties with its former host Bill O'Reilly, who was one of the network's most popular hosts.
The decision, made by the network's parent company 21st Century Fox, was announced Wednesday. O'Reilly has not been on air since mid-last week, but was expected to return from vacation on April 24.
"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."
But in his absence, the mounting harassment allegations were too much for Fox News to handle.
O’Reilly released a humble statement in response to parting ways with his network.
“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,” said O’Reilly. “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. 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.”
Back in March, it’s safe to say that no one would have seen this coming.
"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,” writes Fox News Entertainment.
O'Reilly had repeatedly denied the allegations and said he only agreed to settlements to "spare" his family. His lawyer said in a prior statement that O’Reilly “has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America.”
The impact of his scandal has been significant on Fox News. Advertisers reportedly have pulled their ads from airing on the network. Producers have had to overcompensate with additional coverage to make up with the lack of advertising programs.
Although the Fox News organization is recognized as one of the most prominent media outlets in the industry, the network is no stranger to harassment accusations as of late.
Founder and former CEO, Roger Ailes was accused of sexually harassing the former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, which influenced others to come forward with similar accusations.
The Fox Network had recently signed a multi-year contract with O’Reilly, however it seems as though the organization wanted to send a message that harassment is unacceptable.
Now the network has to deal with a new problem. Will a new anchor bring in the viewership that O’Reilly did? He consistently delivered 3 to 4 millions viewers each night and generated about $178 million in ad revenue in 2015, according to Kantar Media.
So what will Fox News’ lineup be during this transitional time period?
“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,” writes Fox News Entertainment.
Editor's note: Very short sighted of Fox News. They should know that the public has a very short memory. I doubt that O'Reilly will have any problem finding a new gig.