Fox dumps embattled host over harassment allegations

The announcement followed growing reports that the corporation headed by Rupert Murdoch meant to sack the veteran host and just hours after the right-wing television personality was photographed shaking hands with Pope Francis in Rome.

Although ratings remained strong for "The O'Reilly Factor", the Murdoch family was under growing pressure to act quickly to address a mounting scandal within the company and a backlash from advertisers.

The move came after the New York Times revealed in an April 1 story that O'Reilly and Fox News had reached financial settlements totaling close to $13 million with five women who filed complaints against the longtime host over the years.

The allegations also saw dozens of advertisers fleeing the show, even though O'Reilly's viewership increased.

United States television network Fox News on Wednesday removed one of its most popular hosts from the company following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and "inappropriate behaviour".

In a memo to Fox staff, the Murdochs said the decision followed an extensive review done in collaboration with an outside counsel.

But his denials didn't persuade Fox News chief Rupert Murdoch. Eastern time show on Fox News in January to join NBC, the network didn't experience any ratings decline in the time period; her replacement, Tucker Carlson, was able to retain much of the powerful lead-in from O'Reilly. "As shocking as the Roger Ailes fiasco may have been, and as surprising as Megyn Kelly's departure went down, Bill O'Reilly's sudden ouster has absolutely shaken the newsroom, according to multiple insiders", Ellison says.

"The Five" will be replaced at 3 p.m. MDT by a one-hour program hosted by Eric Bolling, to debut May 1.

O'Reilly, 67, had ruled the "no spin zone" on television with a quick smile and an even quicker temper. He pushed a populist, conservative-leaning point of view, and was quick to shout down those who disagreed with him.

But it was O'Reilly who created the template for how to succeed in cable TV punditry, delighting his viewers with unapologetic attacks on liberal politicians and media members that he delivered with gusto. According to ad-tracking firm Kantar Media, it brought in $147.13 million in advertising revenue in 2016.

O'Reilly, who has been on vacation for the last week, including a visit with Pope Francis at the Vatican today, has asserted that the allegations that he sexually harassed women who appeared on his show are "unfounded".

Popular Fox News anchor Bill O'Reilly was sacked from his prime-time TV position yesterday, just hours after shaking hands with Pope Francis. But by saluting O'Reilly twice, one as himself, and one as "Stephen Colbert", the late night host may have set the universe's O'Reilly scales askew once more.

"Mission accomplished", said Keith Olbermann, who frequently tweaked O'Reilly on an MSNBC show that competed in the same time slot for several years. O'Reilly has lost his job at Fox News Channel following report. We have full confidence that the network will continue to be a powerhouse in cable news.

  • Salvatore Jensen