It’s been hinted at for days, and now reports are piling up that Bill O’Reilly is definitely out at Fox News, and that execs are hoping to announce a replacement by Monday, when O’Reilly returns from vacation.
NY Mag reports:
Late last week, the feeling inside the company was that Rupert Murdoch would prevail over his son James, who lobbied to jettison the embattled host. It’s still unclear exactly how the tide turned. According to one source, Lachlan Murdoch’s wife helped convince her husband that O’Reilly needed to go, which moved Lachlan into James’s corner. The source added that senior executives at other divisions within the Murdoch empire have complained that if O’Reilly’s allegations had happened to anyone else at their companies, that person would be gone already.
Additionally, advertisers are bailing on the show. One Fox executive said, “It’s worse than Glenn Beck.” Fox is also facing a federal investigation into whether they made sufficient disclosures to investors about sexual harassment settlements.
Sources told NY Mag there are two main issues in negotiations between O’Reilly and the network – his $20 million contract, and whether or not “he would be allowed to say good-bye to his audience.” Fox paid out Roger Ailes’ contract when he left the network last year.
O’Reilly’s lawyer put out a statement Tuesday that O’Reilly is the target of a “smear campaign orchestrated by far-left organizations” and that the “irrefutable” evidence will be provided shortly.
Who would replace O’Reilly?
Names that have been discussed include Eric Bolling, Dana Perino, and Tucker Carlson, who would move from his successful 9 p.m. slot and create a need for a new host at that time. One source said Sean Hannity is happy at 10 p.m. and would not want to move.
Perino has been filling in for O’Reilly and is a Twitter fan favorite. If we may be so presumptuous, the staff at RedState has a suggestion:
Our esteemed editor stands ready to bring his unique insights to a wider audience. Get ready for “Howe You Doin’?” Or… “And Now for Howe!”
UPDATE: 21st Century Fox has issued a statement.
“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.”