Fox News Channel dismisses O'Reilly, its biggest star

In a shocking reversal of fortune for one of the most prominent voices in TV news, Bill O'Reilly has been ousted from Fox News Channel amid the firestorm over sexual harassment allegations levelled against the host in recent years.

Fox News has officially cut ties with its biggest prime time star, Bill O'Reilly, following sexual harassment claims lodged against him.

"That is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today", he concludes, adding that he will remember his time at Fox "with great pride in the unprecedented success [he and the network] achieved". For years, the show has been a huge revenue source for its network, Fox News, and especially its parent company, 21 Century Fox. FILE - In this October 1, 2015 file photo, host Bill O'Reilly of "The O'Reilly Factor" on the Fox News Channel, poses for photos in the set in NY.

The downfall of Fox's most popular - and most lucrative - personality began with an April 2 report in The New York Times that five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about unpleasant encounters with O'Reilly, who has denied any wrongdoing.

It's widely believed that Rupert Murdoch's two sons flexed their muscles to ensure Fox News' Bill O'Reilly was given the boot, after numerous allegations of sexual harassment were made against him.

O'Reilly, who was with the network for 20 years, said he was proud of his time at Fox.

But a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to discuss it confirmed that O'Reilly's status will be discussed at a previously scheduled board meeting of 21st Century Fox.

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At present Managers are discussing potential replacement of Bill O'Reilly and they are expecting to have the new host by Monday.

O'Reilly's departure will not affect Twenty-First Century Fox's overall profitability, said Brian Wieser, an analyst at Pivotal Research.

O'Reilly observers are curious to see if the hot-tempered host will channel his anger into some sort of new project. Fox News has demonstrated again and again the strength of its talent bench. There was no immediate response from Bill O'Reilly's bosses Wednesday, April 19, 2017, to escalating reports that the Fox News Channel personality will lose his job following accusations he had harassed women. The network's parent company, 21st Century Fox, announced the move in a statement Wednesday. The report led to O'Reilly losing dozens of advertisers on his program, which has the highest ratings in cable news. Conservative personality Glenn Beck - who once lost a job at Fox because a similar campaign choked his program of paying advertisers - came to O'Reilly's defense on his radio show and called on viewers to pressure Fox, to no avail.

Meanwhile, on vacation in Rome Wednesday, O'Reilly shook Pope Francis' hand.

O'Reilly was a ratings magnet at Fox - but it's hard to know how much of his audience would follow him to another network.

O'Reilly and co-author Martin Dugard are due to release another book in the "Killing" series in September, and a spokeswoman for publisher Henry Holt and Co. said that plans had not changed.

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