ibusinesslines.com August 23, 2017

Bill O'Reilly show axed amid sexual harassment scandal

20 April 2017, 09:37 | Justin Tyler

The New York Times reported that five women received payouts totalling $13 million (£10.5m) from either O'Reilly or Fox News in return for dropping cases against him and agreeing to remain silent.

However, after several women came forward with allegations of sexual harassmentand abusive behaviour dating back to 2002, over 50 advertisers have pulled their spots from his programme.

Mr O'Reilly's involvement in a sexual harassment scandal comes nine months after Fox News chief executive Roger Ailes was forced to resign over sexual harassment allegations.

NY magazine said that Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, who run Fox parent 21st Century Fox, had decided that O'Reilly was out and executives were planning the exit.

O'Reilly's attorney claimed on Tuesday that his client - a long-time conservative media icon - had been the target of a "smear campaign" financed by leftwing activist organisations. The network announced that "Tucker Carlson Tonight" would take over "The O'Reilly Factor" timeslot and will broadcast live from the network's Washington D.C. bureau.

O'Reilly was set to return to the show this coming Monday, following an already scheduled vacation. But as outrage mounted and new allegations of inappropriate behavior surfaced, it became clear to the Murdochs and other leaders of Fox News parent company 21st Century Fox that the company could no longer afford to back the star who helped bring Fox News to prominence almost 20 years ago.

O'Reilly had spearheaded the networks' primetime lineup for over two decades.

Fox News addressed the departure of Bill O'Reilly Wednesday night, as the show that used to bear his name debuted as simply "The Factor".

In a statement to the Times, O'Reilly said he was "vulnerable to lawsuits" due to his prominence, and had "put to rest any controversies to spare my children".

In a memo to employees, Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch said the decision came after an "extensive review". The letter also said, "His success, by any measure, is indisputable".

O'Reilly's long-running show, The O'Reilly Factor, had become the most profitable show on cable news. In it they said "O'Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news". Fox News has demonstrated again and again the strength of its talent bench.

This particular show consistently got Fox News its best ratings, drawing nearly 4 million viewers a night and generating more than $446 million in advertising revenue between 2014 and 2016, according to Kantar Media.

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