Yesterday, Fox News Channel lost their biggest star, Bill O’Reilly, and cancelled one of the top-rated TV shows on cable, The O’Reilly Factor. Back in March 2015, it was reported that the series had spent 60 consecutive quarters as number one in the 25-54 demographic.
O’Reilly’s firing came less than three weeks after The New York Times reported that O’Reilly and Fox had over the course of the past 15 years, paid out nearly $13 million to settle five cases of sexual and other harassment against the host. Following the news, as many as 90 advertisers pulled their commercials from The O’Reilly Factor. It’s unclear if they pulled their spots from the cable channel entirely or just shifted them to other Fox News programs.
O’Reilly announced he was going on a two-week vacation and would return on April 24th. After investigating the allegations, Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, announced yesterday that O’Reilly would not be returning to the cable channel.
Here’s O’Reilly’s statement regarding his dismissal:
Over the past 20 years at Fox News I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television. It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today.
I will always look back on my time with Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.
Deadline obtained a copy of Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch’s memo to Fox News staffers:
I would like to address questions about Bill O’Reilly’s future at Fox News. After a thorough and careful review of allegations against him, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Mr. O’Reilly will not return to the Fox News Channel.
This decision follows an extensive review done in collaboration with outside counsel.
By ratings standards, Bill O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success by any measure is indisputable. Fox News has demonstrated again and again the strength of its talent bench. We have full confidence that the network will continue to be a powerhouse in cable news. Please see attached for our new programming line-up.
Most importantly, we want to underscore our consistent commitment to fostering a work environment built on the values of trust and respect.
I understand how difficult this has been for many of you. Thank you for your hard work, patience, and for the great job you all do delivering news and opinion to millions of Americans whose trust you earn every day. I look forward to even more success in the coming years.
What do you think? Do you think that O’Reilly should have been fired from Fox News? Do you think this move will help or hurt the channel? If you are a viewer, will you still watch Fox News?