Fox News and parent company 21st Century Fox have announced that their highest rating news commentator and anchor, Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the network.
The decision follows ongoing allegations of sexual harassment and verbal abuse by five women, which have resulted in Fox News paying over $13 million in legal settlements to the accusers.
O’Reilly’s show, “The O’Reilly Factor” is the highest ratings program in US cable news – beating rival networks CNN and MSNBC.
The news comes after other networks, including the New York Times and CNN, discussed the rumours surrounding O’Reilly’s absence from his own show in recent weeks.
News Corp, which owns Fox News and 21st Century Fox, is believed to be in a bid to purchase Sky News and the decision to axe O’Reilly after numerous allegations may be viewed favourably by regulators overseeing the potential acquisition.
It is estimated that Fox News paid O’Reilly $20,000,000 USD per year to anchor his program which proved a ratings hit.
However, many prominent advertisers pulled their ads following the allegations, including Mercedes-Benz, and the financial hit to Fox News is believed to have pushed them into action resulting in dismissing O’Reilly,
Fox News has not commented directly regarding the allegations, but has confirmed that Bill O’Reilly will no longer be a part of Fox News’. None of O’Reilly’s Fox News colleagues were willing to defend him, at least publicly.
His prime-time slot will be filled by rearranging existing prime-time programs.
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