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Why the Murdochs axed their biggest Fox News star Bill O'Reilly

20 April, 2017, 11:38 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • Spencer Platt  Getty Images News  Getty Images

Fox News addressed the announcement rocking the media world that longtime host Bill O'Reilly will not return to the network in the face of sexual harassment allegations during a primetime program Wednesday evening.

The move comes following an April 1 report from the "New York Times" that O'Reilly and Fox News paid $13 million (12.2 million euro) to five different women over a period of 15 years, settling sexual harassment suits and allegations of inappropriate conduct.

But the departure of advertisers, wary of being associated with "The O'Reilly Factor", sealed his fate as the Murdoch family, who owns parent company 21st Century Fox, battles to keep a lid on reports of harassment at the channel and eyes up a powerful merger in Britain.

On Tuesday, 21st Century Fox received an anonymous complaint against O'Reilly from a black female employee who claimed that the anchor had "leered" at her and referred to her as "hot chocolate" in 2008.

Marc Kasowitz, O'Reilly's lawyer, said in a statement that the television host "has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America".

On Wednesday afternoon, Fox News officially cut "The O'Reilly Factor" host Bill O'Reilly.

It's unlikely that O'Reilly viewers will flock to less partisan hosts (CNN) or avowedly progressive ones (MSNBC), and many who tuned in nightly will stick with Fox News as long as a right-leaning host is on air.

Greene said O'Reilly then told her that while she might want to "break his bank" with the restaurant choice, he "was more interested in breaking my back".

As we reported last week, an independent analysis by the ad-tracking firm iSpot.tv showed O'Reilly's program had lost about half its advertisers in a span of several weeks due to the allegations.

But James Murdoch, chief executive officer of 21st Century Fox, reportedly argued that Mr O'Reilly should go.

The National Organization for Women, a US feminist organization, is calling on the city and state of NY to launch an independent investigation into what it calls a culture harassment at Fox News.

O'Reilly may have agreed, but he clearly wasn't happy about it.

Ruddy, of Newsmax, said Wednesday, "I think Bill O'Reilly was the heart and soul of that network, and he has unparalleled and unchallenged talent". She quit the job - and the business - due to her treatment by O'Reilly, he said. The books in his "Killing" historical series, including "Killing Lincoln" and "Killing Reagan", have consistently sold 1 million or more copies in hardcover, a rare achievement in publishing, and his platform on Fox enabled him to promote his work.

Despite the allegations and loss of 60 advertisers, "The O'Reilly Factor" saw an increase in both ratings and viewers a week after the allegations surfaced, according to the Hollywood Reporter. "Our plans have not changed", a company spokeswoman said in an e-mail Wednesday.

That will be Tucker Carlson, whose show is moving to the 8 p.m. slot on Fox.

Francis always swings by the VIP seats at the end of his audience for a quick round of handshakes.

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