Hours after Bill O'Reilly was sacked amid swirling sexual harassment accusations, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee went on the longtime Fox News anchor's old show and made an off-color analogy about not being able to "kiss a woman leaning away from you".
A few 21st Century Fox executives outside the news division had said that they wanted a resolution and that O'Reilly would have been fired earlier had he worked in their groups, according to people familiar with the matter.
USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers said that she complained of inappropriate comments made by Bill O'Reilly, but was told by then-Fox News chief Roger Ailes that there was nothing he could do about it because O'Reilly made too much money for the network.
Eyes will now focus on O'Reilly's replacement.
The network says Tucker Carlson will replace O'Reilly's show at 8 p.m.
Van Susteren went to NBCUniversal's MSNBC; Kelly to sister NBC unit NBC News, starting up show later this year. If O'Reilly's viewership craters, it could hurt audiences in the 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. slots, sapping revenue from O'Reilly's former slot and those around it. Eric Bolling will host a new show that airs at 5 p.m. starting next month, the company said.
The conservative commentator's last day on "The O'Reilly Factor" was April 11. At the end of the show, she paid him a warm tribute.
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Noting the "dramatic changes", Perino said: "It is the end of the era".
She also noted his devoted fans and their loyalty to the show. He pushed a populist, conservative-leaning point of view, and was quick to shout down those who disagreed with him.
In a follow-up statement, Kasowitz said O'Reilly is being "subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America". His audience was larger in the first three months of this year than it has ever been, according to Nielsen. The network's parent company, 21st Century Fox, announced the move in a statement Wednesday.
The New York Daily News reports that two "powerful" and "progressive" women played a key role in O'Reilly's exit: Sarah and Kathryn Murdoch, the wives of Fox execs Lachlan and James Murdoch-and the daughters-in-law of Rupert Murdoch.
"I thought he was a good contributor", he said. Calling the situation "disheartening", O'Reilly barely acknowledged the severe accusations against him, dismissing them as "unfounded claims".
O'Reilly grew up on Long Island, New York, with a Catholic school upbringing.
Author Stephen King tweeted: "New book by Fox News: Killing Bill O'Reilly".
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The National Geographic channel has turned several of O'Reilly's books into TV movies. The company is making "a pretty big statement" to that effect by dropping O'Reilly, said Hall, the American University professor.
"Fox News is a strong brand and the only game in town for millions of loyalists", Peyronnin said.
"You learn to expect that it's part of your job", she said.
The decision to force out O'Reilly, 67, came after dozens of advertisers abandoned his highly rated program amid a barrage of sexual harassment allegations. He said he wishes "only the best for Fox News Channel". On a regular segment, we're on every Monday and he got Margaret's name wrong and, Margaret said "Hey get my name right", and he said "Oh, I'm sorry, there's a lot of blondes in this operation, I can't keep you straight".
By ratings standards, Bill is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. No more silencing women!
Vatican spokesman Greg Burke confirmed O'Reilly was in the VIP section for the pope's Wednesday appearance.
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