On Wednesday, Fox News finally pulled the trigger on a long-awaited decision regarding the fate of its top-rated host and decades-long tentpole, Bill O’Reilly: he’s gone. “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 the Fox News Channel.” O’Reilly will not have a sign-off show, nor will he be returning for any period of time on the network.
This leaves the fate of the crucial 9 PM hour up in the air. Rumors have swirled about O’Reilly’s replacement, with the most credible rumor being the replacement of O’Reilly by new Fox News star Tucker Carlson; Carlson could then be replaced by The Five, and another Fox News personality would fill that empty slot. Dana Perino has been rumored for that post.
O’Reilly has a long list of accusers regarding allegations of sexual harassment, and multiple legal settlements that have long been public record. Those accusers include, according to Axios, former producer Andrea Mackris reportedly received a $9 million settlement after O’Reilly allegedly made sexual references to her via phone; former guest Wendy Walsh accused O’Reilly of offering to help her at Fox but cutting her deal when she refused his sexual advances; former guest Juliet Huddy received a $1.6 million settlement from Fox News after she alleged that he made sexual phone calls to her and then tried to harm her career; former host Andrea Tantaros filed a lawsuit against O’Reilly and former Fox News head Roger Ailes, who was ousted last year after allegations of sexual harassment; former host Laurie Dhue similarly sued both over similar allegations, and received a settlement in excess of $1 million; former host Rebecca Gomez Diamond alleged sexual phone calls from O’Reilly. A report this week from attorney Lisa Bloom alleged that O’Reilly called a black female clerical worker “hot chocolate” and leered at her.
Fox News has been plagued by allegations of sexual harassment since the middle of last year, when allegations against Ailes became public. Former Fox News host Megyn Kelly took sides against Ailes, and O’Reilly ripped her publicly while defending Ailes. Kelly ended up leaving the network for NBC News.
Two weeks ago, President Trump defended O’Reilly, stating, “I don’t think Bill did anything wrong.”