Fox News has decided to oust top-rated host Bill O’Reilly, New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman reported Wednesday.
Top network execs are in talks about how to end their relationship with O’Reilly “without causing collateral damage to the network,” the report said, adding that 21st Century Fox’s board is set to meet Thursday about it.
“Very few in the business get to decide when and how things end. Media is most brutal of all industries,” Drudge tweeted Tuesday in apparent reference to O’Reilly.
New York Magazine reported Tuesday that the sons of Fox News executive chairman Rupert Murdoch are considering pulling O’Reilly off the air in the wake of sexual harassment allegations.
“The O’Reilly Factor” has been the top-rated cable news show for the past 15 years.
The question now turns to who will replace O’Reilly, a 21-year veteran of the network since its inception.
Fox faced a similar situation in January with the departure of Megyn Kelly to NBC despite a reported $100 million offer to her to stay. But Tucker Carlson has filled the void at 9 p.m. seamlessly, even generating higher ratings than Kelly, who finished 2016 as the second-most-watched host in cable news behind O’Reilly.
Replacing O’Reilly may be far trickier, given how long “The O’Reilly Factor” has been a staple on Fox News. The program began as “The O’Reilly Report” in October of 1996 before becoming “The O’Reilly Factor” months later.
Four names are seen as the most likely candidates to fill O’Reilly’s shoes if reports of his demise are true: “The Five” co-host and “Cashin’ In” host Eric Bolling, “The Five” co-host and former White House press secretary Dana Perino, “The Five” co-host and former “Red Eye” host Greg Gutfeld and “Watters World” host Jesse Watters, a longtime producer and man-on-the-street interviewer on “The O’Reilly Factor.”
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