Fox News addresses O’Reilly exit on air

Fox News addressed the announcement rocking the media world that longtime host Bill O'Reilly will not return to the network in the face of sexual harassment allegations during a prime-time program Wednesday evening. 

“You may have already heard — there are some major changes coming to the programming lineup here at Fox News Channel,” "Special Report" host Bret Baier said. “Bill O’Reilly is leaving, as of today.”

“Bill O’Reilly, the biggest star in the 20-year history of Fox News, is leaving the network in the wake of mounting allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct,” Baier said.

Fox News media analyst Howard Kurtz then recounted the day's news and said that some women at the company had felt uncomfortable with O'Reilly's continued presence. 

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Anchor Dana Perino, filling in for O’Reilly during the 8 p.m. hour temporarily branded "The Factor," called it “the end of an era” and praised O’Reilly as “the undisputed king of cable news.”

“He is an incredibly talented broadcaster who raises the bar for interviewers everywhere,” she said, thanking his many loyal viewers. 

Fox News's parent company, 21st Century Fox, announced earlier Wednesday that O’Reilly would not return to the network.

“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,” it said in a statement.

Top-rated “O’Reilly Factor” lost about 90 advertisers after The New York Times reported earlier this month that five women were paid $13 million to settle sexual harassment suits involving O’Reilly.

Fox also announced Wednesday that Tucker Carlson is moving into O’Reilly’s coveted 8 p.m. time slot. 

O’Reilly on Wednesday blamed his ouster on “unfounded claims” hours after Fox News announced his departure.

“But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today,” he said in a statement of the “tremendously disheartening” news.