After 21-years as the king of cable news, Fox News star Bill O’Reilly has been fired from the Fox News Channel.
“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,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement.
New York Magazine first reported that the Murdoch family, who own the company, informed O’Reilly’s camp of their decision to formally cut ties early Wednesday afternoon.
Fox News network executives were originally scheduled to discuss Thursday, but reportedly were called to an emergency meeting Wednesday to prepare for the announcement.
O’Reilly’s departure is highly controversial. Over 95% of The Horn News readers polled reported they were unhappy with Fox News’ plans.
In fact, conservatives across the country have called for a boycott of the news network in response.
Executives will meet again Thursday to discuss the separation, which will happen before O’Reilly returns from vacation on Apr. 24th.
“Sources briefed on the discussions say O’Reilly’s exit negotiations are moving quickly,” New York Magazine reports. “Right now, a key issue on the table is whether he would be allowed to say good-bye to his audience, perhaps the most loyal in all of cable.” The Murdochs are reportedly against allowing a farewell show.
Also being negotiated is the cost to buy-out O’Reilly’s salary. The embattled news anchor recently signed a multi-year contract with the company that gives him a $20 million annual salary, so the move will cost Fox News serious capital.
Inside the network, the news has shocked many senior staffers.
Last week, the reported sentiment inside the company was that O’Reilly would be allowed to stay.
Being currently discussed inside the company is also the obvious question: Who will be Bill O’Reilly’s replacement?
“Executives are currently debating possible replacement hosts. 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,” New York Magazine reports.