Confirming a wave of reports saying that Fox News was in “emergency meetings” to figure out how to rid itself of conservative TV blowhard and alleged super-creep Bill O’Reilly, Variety has a statement from 21st Century Fox confirming that the network has, indeed, fired its most popular on-air personality.
“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,” the statement reads.
O’Reilly, who has been accused of racial, sexual, and just plain old harassment by a number of former Fox employees, is currently on vacation in Italy. He’s set to return to the U.S. on April 24, at which point Fox will presumably have a cardboard box full of his belongings waiting for him on the curb. No word yet on who will replace O’Reilly in his prime 8 p.m. time slot on the network, or what will happen with O’Reilly’s contract with the network, which was recently renewed.
UPDATE: Fox News has announced that Tucker Carlson will be taking over O’Reilly’s time slot.
UPDATE, 4:10 p.m. CT: O’Reilly has released a frankly rather self-aggrandizing statement on his ouster from the network describing the claims made against him as “completely unfounded.” It reads as follows:
Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television. It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today. I will always look back on my time at Fox with great pride in the unprecedented success we achieved and with my deepest gratitude to all my dedicated viewers. I wish only the best for Fox News Channel.
Meanwhile, Variety reports that a TV-movie version of O’Reilly’s book Killing Patton due in 2019 is still on at National Geographic channel—for now. “We’re focused on 2018 right now. We’re not making any decisions today,” a representative says. Publisher Henry Holt—the Macmillan subsidiary that publishes O’Reilly’s Killing series of historical non-fiction books—also says it plans to keep O’Reilly on its roster.