As expected, The O’Reilly Factor TV show on Fox News has been cancelled. 21st Century Fox, the parent-company of Fox News, held a board meeting today to discuss how to handle Bill O’Reilly, host of the political talk show. The meeting was scheduled after recent reports that he and the company allegedly gave financial settlements to women who accused O’Reilly of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior.
O’Reilly, who has been on “vacation” from the show, was originally expected to return next week. Yesterday, CNN reported there was a difference of opinion etween Rupert Murdoch and sons James and Lachlan regarding the company’s response. Reportedly, James wanted O’Reilly gone, and Lachlan was leaning in that direction.
Former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes resigned his position back in July of 2016, after news broke about similar allegations against him.
Here is more, from Deadline:
“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations, the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to Fox News Channel,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement. It did not elaborate.
The outlet’s decision to remove the host of its flagship program The O’Reilly Factor, comes in the wake of an April 1 New York Times report that O’Reilly and FNC paid nearly $13M to settle cases with five women going back 15 years. Since that report, two more women have publicly claimed O’Reilly harassed them years ago.
Pressure built to cut O’Reilly when dozens advertisers pulled their spots from The Factor in the wake of that NYT report. The latest tally of advertisers stood at 90. The dump-O’Reilly drumbeat grew deafeningly loud late Tuesday when Fox News Channel stopped assuring he would be back on-air this coming Monday after taking a vacation. He’s been off the air since April 11, when he announced he taking a vacation, as he had at this time last year. And, in a potentially prescient move, Drudge Report founder Matt Drudge took to Twitter to fete the news channel’s biggest star’s “tremendous run.”
UPDATE: Deadline reports on the FOX News Channel scheduling changes being made in the wake of The O’Reilly Factor‘s cancellation:
Daytime roundtable series The Five is moving to primetime, to take Tucker’s 9 PM hour, also starting Monday.
Dana Perino, who was among those filling in for O’Reilly on The Factor this week, will continue to sub Wednesday and Thursday nights; Greg Gutfield will fill in on Friday.
Carlson’s new gig comes as no surprise. He had been Rupert Murdoch’s pick to assume the 9 PM hour when Megyn Kelly left the network to join NBC News, and dramatically improved the timeslot’s numbers for FNC. In mid-January, Carlson’s first two full weeks hosting Fox News Channel’s 9 PM timeslot, averaged 3.7 million viewers, 775,000 of them in the 25-54 news demo, topping CNN and MSNBC in both metrics.
Tucker Carlson Tonight’s numbers were 37% higher in viewers and up 50% in the news demo compared with the 2016 average of The Kelly File in the 9 PM slot. Compared with Kelly’s performance in the same two weeks last year, Carson was up 95% in the demo and 46% in overall audience. Carlson’s numbers back then seemed to make the point the network could survive Kelly’s very dramatic tenure and departure for NBC News without seeming to miss a beat. Presumably the company hopes Carlson performs similar feat in O’Reilly’s hour.
What do you think? Are you a fan of The O’Reilly Factor TV show? Do you think 21st Century Fox made the right decision? Should they have cancelled or renewed The O’Reilly Factor for another season on the FOX News Channel?