The Murdoch family, which runs the Fox News Channel, has made the decision to give the boot to Bill O’Reilly, according to a report by Gabriel Sherman in New York Magazine. As has been widely reported, O’Reilly, who is currently on vacation from “The O’Reilly Factor,” has been under pressure over allegations of sexual misconduct.
“The Murdochs have decided Bill O’Reilly’s 21-year run at Fox News will come to an end,” Sherman reports. “According to sources briefed on the discussions, network executives are preparing to announce O’Reilly’s departure before he returns from an Italian vacation on April 24. Now the big questions are how the exit will look and who will replace him.”
The report adds: “Wednesday morning, according to sources, executives are holding emergency meetings to discuss how they can sever the relationship with the country’s highest-rated cable-news host without causing collateral damage to the network. The board of Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, is scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the matter.”
Sherman also reports: “Sources briefed on the discussions say O’Reilly’s exit negotiations are moving quickly. Right now, a key issue on the table is whether he would be allowed to say goodbye to his audience, perhaps the most loyal in all of cable (O’Reilly’s ratings have ticked up during the sexual-harassment allegations). Fox executives are leaning against allowing him to have a sign-off, sources say.”
Another key issue that remains on the table, of course, is money. “O’Reilly recently signed a new multiyear contract worth more than $20 million per year,” Sherman notes, adding: “When Roger Ailes left Fox News last summer, the Murdochs paid out $40 million, the remainder of his contract.”