Fox News has decided that Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run as the face of Fox News will come to an end.
New York Magazine is reporting that network executives are planning to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from his Italian vacation on April 24.
On Wednesday morning, executives held emergency meetings to discuss how they can end their relationship with the country’s highest-ranked cable news host without completely destroying the network.
O’Reilly was beset by allegations of sexual harassment claims that have cost the network and its parent company, 21stCentury Fox, tens of millions of dollars.
O’Reilly’s exit negotiations are moving quickly, New York Magazine reports.
Right now, a key issue on the table is whether he would be allowed to say good-bye to his audience, perhaps the most loyal in all of cable (O’Reilly’s ratings have ticked up during the sexual-harassment allegations). Fox executives are leaning against allowing him to have a sign-off, sources say. The other main issue on the table is money. O’Reilly recently signed a new multiyear contract worth more than $20 million per year. When Roger Ailes left Fox News last summer, the Murdochs paid out $40 million, the remainder of his contract.
Sponsors rapidly abandoned “The O’Reilly Factor” after a New York Times report that O’Reilly and Fox News paid $13 million to settle claims of sexual harassment and abusive behavior. His shortened commercial breaks have been filled with direct marketers who buy time at a discount.