O'Reilly out over harassment allegations

O'Reilly was set to return to the show this coming Monday, following an already scheduled vacation.

O'Reilly, 67, lost his job on the same day he was photographed in Rome shaking the hand of Pope Francis.

Fox News (FOXA) losing star host Bill O'Reilly might not hurt the network as much as people think.

O'Reilly said he would look back on his time at Fox "with great pride in the unprecedented success" achieved and with "deepest gratitude" to his "dedicated viewers".

He had initially planned to return to his The O'Reilly Factor show on April 24, but as outrage mounted and new allegations of inappropriate behaviour surfaced, it became clear the company could no longer afford to back the star who helped bring Fox News to prominence almost 20 years ago. "For years, Fox News executives, like Bill Shine, have provided cover for systematic sexual harassment and abuse of Fox New's employees".

As quickly as Fox News CEO Rupert Murdoch announced Tuesday that O'Reilly was a goner, news of Carlson taking over his time slot shook the Internet. The host is presumably owed tens of millions of dollars under the terms of his multi-year contract, though it is not clear what sort of clauses the contract may have contained to allow Fox News to get out of the deal.

Wendy Walsh, a former commentator on O'Reilly's show, came forward this month saying he cut her loose after she refused his advances following a dinner business meeting at the Hotel Bel-Air. One of his most indelible TV moments is the famous "You Mad" interview he had with rapper Cam'ron and hip hop mogul Dame Dash on his program The O'Reilly Factor in late 2003.

Attorney Lisa Bloom, who represented three of O'Reilly's accusers, claimed victory: "This is what happens when women speak our truth: We can slay dragons".

Wednesday's outcome "is stunning because Bill O'Reilly WAS Fox News", former Fox contributor Kirsten Powers said on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360".

The New York Times reported on April 1 that Fox and O'Reilly paid five women a total of $13 million to settle harassment claims.

The five women who received settlements either worked for O'Reilly or appeared as guests on his program, according to The New York Times.

Tucker Carlson will take over O'Reilly's 8 p.m.

Shares of Twenty-First Century Fox ended Wednesday's trading on the Nasdaq down less than 1 percent at $30.39 and analysts said the network's viewers would likely remain loyal.

O'Reilly on Wednesday blamed his ouster on "unfounded claims" hours after Fox News announced his departure.

- CNNMoney's Tom Kludt contributed reporting.

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