Fox News Channel expunged “O’Reilly” from The O’Reilly Factor tonight and re-named the show The Factor, hours after parent 21st Century Fox announced it had let go cable news TV’s biggest star Bill O’Reilly.
“We want to address a situation many of you may already be aware of. Bill O’Reilly, who hosted this program for 20 years, is leaving the Fox News Channel,” fill-in Dana Perino said at the top of the telecast, for those viewers who had not noticed the gaping hole in the show logo.
“We know that you, his very loyal viewers, will have a lot of feelings about this, and we will talk more about it later on in the program.”
In FNC’s Mediabuzz coverage of today’s announcement, Howard Kurtz reported that his bosses severed ties to O’Reilly “after mounting allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior prompted the network to end his program.” In his own statement, issued a few hours before The O’Reilly-less Factor began Wednesday night, the ousted show host said: “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.”
Perino closed Wednesdays’ Factor saying this:”It is the end of an era here at Fox News Channel. As we mentioned earlier, Bill O’Reilly is leaving this chair and this network after more than 20 years. Bill has been the undisputed king of cable news, and for good reason. He is an incredibly talented broadcaster who raised the bar for interviewers everywhere. He has also held his staff to exacting standards in his quest to put the best possible program on the air, and they are great.
“And you, the audience responded in record numbers, making The Factor the No. 1 cable news show for more than 16 years. You have also been loyal and we can’t tell you how much that means to everyone on The Factor. In a memo to staff today, Rupert, James, and Lachlan Murdoch, who run Fox News, described Bill this way: ‘By ratings standards, Bill O’Reilly is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success, by any measure, is indisputable.’
“We wish him the very best.”