Bill O’Reilly, the right-wing political commentator who helped propel Fox News to become the cable juggernaut it is today, will not be returning to his prime-time show or the network, corporate parent 21st Century Fox has confirmed in a statement.
New York magazine’s Gabriel Sherman had reported earlier on Wednesday that the Murdoch family, which owns 21st Century Fox, decided to let O’Reilly go after the cable news host was assailed by allegations of sexual harassment.
Fox News executives met Wednesday morning to discuss how to cut ties with the nation’s highest-rated news host, Sherman reported. The board of 21st Century Fox is expected to meet on Thursday to further discuss the matter.
Tucker Carlson is slated to fill O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. time slot, NPR reported.
According to sources who spoke with New York magazine, senior executives who work at other companies within the Murdoch business empire put pressure on Fox News to take the difficult move. The source said that many executives complained that if any other 21st Century Fox employee had been accused of O’Reilly’s allegations, he or she would have been fired already.
Sources briefed on the exit told Sherman that O’Reilly hopes to host one last show so that he can say goodbye to his loyal viewers. As of right now, it appears as if Fox executives will deny O’Reilly this request, Sherman reported.
Earlier this month, Fox News had announced that O’Reilly had re-upped his contract with the network for $20 million per year. Former Fox News employees have alleged sexual misconduct by O’Reilly and told harrowing tales about the overall misogynistic culture at Fox News. The subsequent outrage encouraged a mass exodus of advertisers from O’Reilly’s show, and the news host took a vacation amid the controversy.
That vacation just turned into an early retirement.
Updated 2:54 p.m.: This story was updated to reflect 21st Century Fox ‘s official statement concerning Bill O’Reilly’s departure.