News and Commentary

Last Laugh: Bill O’Reilly’s Payout Is A ‘Staggering Amount’

According to CNN sources “personally involved” in the exit process for Bill O’Reilly, while the now former Fox News host will not receive the entirety of his remaining $100+ million contract, his payout will be “a staggering amount.”

CNN reported on Thursday that while neither 21st Century Fox nor O’Reilly’s representatives will even acknowledge that his contract includes a payout, “two well-placed sources” confirmed that “O’Reilly does have a parachute.”

That payout was reportedly established in a new contract O’Reilly and Fox News hammered out just a few weeks before the New York Times first reported on his sexual harassment settlements on April 1. CNN provides some details on the contract (formatting adjusted):

The two sources, who spoke independently of one another, said the new contract was worth about $25 million per year. (Previous news reports have pegged O’Reilly’s past contract at $18 to $20 million a year.) […]

The two sources also said the contract extended through the next presidential election, meaning it was set to expire either at the end of 2020 or sometime in 2021.

According to the sources, O’Reilly’s payout terms will not give him the full amount of his remaining contract ($100 to $125 million), but will still pay him a hefty percentage of the sum — what one of the sources described as a “staggering amount,” which may be revealed in the coming months when regulatory filings drop.

Another interesting detail provided by CNN’s sources is that the Murdochs appear to have known that the April 1 New York Times article was in the works and deliberately included some “outs” in O’Reilly’s contract to avoid paying him his full contract if things should turn south. In contrast, former Fox New CEO Roger Ailes, who faced similar accusations, received the entirety of his remaining contract, some $40 million.

​After 21st Century Fox announced on Wednesday that they had fire O’Reilly, the popular host responded to the decision, saying, “It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today.” Read O’Reilly’s full statement here.

On Thursday, Fox News revealed that Tucker Carlson will be O’Reilly’s replacement for the coveted 8 p.m. Eastern slot.

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