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O'Reilly is out at Fox but influence endures; career too?
20 April 2017, 05:29 | Jodi Jackson
After a number of sexual harassment allegations dating back to 2004 surfaced against conservative talkshow host Bill O'Reilly, Fox News confirmed on Wednesday morning that he would not be returning to the network.
According to an investigation by The New York Times earlier this month, Fox and O'Reilly, paid five women roughly $13 million to settle claims of sexual harassment against the TV veteran.
Fox said Tucker Carlson would move into O'Reilly's time slot - the second time in three months he's replaced an exiting prime-time personality.
"And so what? Suddenly, sexual harassment's a crime?"
The network also lost Greta Van Susteren in 2016 and Megyn Kelly in January of this year.
"After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that he will not be returning to the Fox News Channel", Efe news agency quoted the network's parent company as saying in a statement.
That certainly could happen, though it probably won't be easy.
O'Reilly said he was proud of what he termed "one of the most successful news programs in history", thanked his viewers and wished "only the best" for Fox News, the premier right-wing news outlet.
"It is the end of an era here at Fox News Channel", Perino said.
The combative host, who has worked at Fox for 21 years, is now on what he called a "long-planned break" but had originally meant to return to his nightly show on April 24.
His show generated $178 million in advertising revenue in 2015, according to Kantar Media.
With a profit centre gone, 21st Century Fox stock fell nearly 1% on Wednesday in heavy trading. "He's been the linchpin" of the lineup, said Jane Hall, an American University professor and former Fox contributor, who noted that it will take a while to see whether his loyal audience sticks with O'Reilly's replacement.
Trevor Noah opened Wednesday's The Daily Show noting Serena Williams is expecting a baby, and reminding viewers, "you know what they say: For every wonderful black baby that comes into the world, one old white man has to leave".
Others figure that O'Reilly's firing won't be a sticking point for most Fox viewers.
That multiplying effect gave O'Reilly a role in a seismic change, he said.
While the Access Hollywood tape is the first thing that comes to mind when talking about the president's treatment of women, Trump - like unemployed O'Reilly - has faced a long line of similar allegations from women. "Like him or not, a lot of people watched him". It could also have alienated employees.
And 21st Century Fox is much bigger than O'Reilly, Fox News and its aging, conservative audience. "He had the #1 cable news show for fifteen years... until today". Fox owns 39 percent of European TV giant Sky, and has long wanted to take over the whole company. "As we mentioned earlier, Bill O'Reilly is leaving this chair, and this network, after more than 20 years".
Following the Times story, 21st Century Fox said it had asked the same law firm that investigated Ailes to look into O'Reilly's behaviour.
Commentators said his dismissal marked a defining point for Fox, struggling to clean up its image nine months after Roger Ailes, the 76-year-old former executive who built up the cable channel, resigned under a haze of similarly damaging sexual harassment accusations. The memo was signed by Rupert, Lachlan and James Murdoch, the company's top executives.
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