Bill O’Reilly is out at Fox News. This announcement, from 21st Century Fox, comes weeks after a New York Times report on the settlements of O’Reilly’s sexual harassment lawsuits.
The Times had previously reported that FOX News settled five lawsuits, dating back to 2002, alleging sexual harassment against O’Reilly for a collective $13 million. All the women involved in the suits had appeared as guests on O’Reilly’s weeknight show, The O’Reilly Factor. Now that FOX has canned O’Reilly, it has also canceled the Factor.
On his departure from FOX News, O’Reilly released the following statement, courtesy of Politico’s Hadas Gold:
O’Reilly statement pic.twitter.com/FKO0NLtMbl
— Hadas Gold (@Hadas_Gold) April 19, 2017
A number of companies already withdrew advertisements that aired during O’Reilly’s hour of programming. The show’s cancellation means that the network will lose its most popular program. The O’Reilly Factor routinely brought in around four million viewers every night.
O’Reilly had already vacated his anchor chair for the most recent Factor episodes, with guest hosts like Greg Gutfeld and Dana Perino filling in as the former anchor took a “vacation” and met Pope Francis. Perino will anchor the show on April 19 and 20, and Gutfeld will host the show’s final episode on April 21, ending The Factor’s 21-year-long run.
What’s next at the network with O’Reilly ousted? CNN’s Tom Kludt revealed what Fox News’ weeknight lineup will look like for the foreseeable future:
The new Fox News lineup, sans Bill O’Reilly pic.twitter.com/ENxpdHqMdk
— Tom Kludt (@TomKludt) April 19, 2017
Taking O’Reilly’s now-previous 8 p.m. timeslot will be Tucker Carlson Tonight. Carlson’s show began in November after Greta Van Susteren left Fox News and had moved to the 9 p.m. timeslot after Megyn Kelly’s departure from the network. Carlson’s show has routinely rated well in that slot and has pulled in the second-highest rating of any Fox News program, behind only The O’Reilly Factor. It may be safe to assume that Carlson’s new timeslot will only help his ratings.
It’s only a matter of time to see if this affects audience numbers. Fox News has led the cable news ratings race for quite some time now, and O’Reilly’s scandal didn’t severely impact their numbers. Whether O’Reilly’s official departure—and Carlson’s show time change—will bump ratings even higher will remain to be seen.