Fox News’ Dana Perino promised to address Bill O’Reilly’s sudden departure from his (formerly) eponymous program, “The O’Reilly Factor.”
The former White House press secretary came on the program (now simply called “The Factor”) addressing the cable news king’s dismissal at the top of the program:
“Before we get to any other big stories of the day, we want to address a situation many of you may already be aware of,” she said Wednesday night. “Bill O’Reilly, who hosted this program for 20 years, is leaving the Fox News Channel. We know that you, his very loyal viewers, will have a lot of feelings about this, and we will talk more about it later in the program.”
What did she say? And, as promised, after the one-hour broadcast, Perino spent almost exactly 60 seconds discussing O’Reilly’s dramatic firing after more than 20 years on the network following repeated accusations of sexual harassment.
“It is the end of an era here at the 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,” Perino said. “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.”
Washington Examiner: Dana Perino addresses O’Reilly’s departure on his former show
The Daily Beast: Fox News’s Dana Perino Delivers Pained Farewell to Bill O’Reilly
Mediaite: Rupert Murdoch in Memo to Fox Employees: ‘I Understand How Difficult This Has Been’
What didn’t she say? Her presentation was completely void of any emotion, not mentioning the reason O’Reilly was fired – the $13 million in settlements that he and Fox paid out to at least five different women. She didn’t mention the words “sexual harassment” and she didn’t mention that the exact same thing happened to Roger Ailes one year ago.
“And you, his audience, responded in record numbers, making The Factor the No. 1 cable news show for more than 16 years,” Perino continued. “You have also been loyal, and we can’t tell you how much that means to everyone on The Factor.” O’Reilly’s name was once again missing from the name of the show.
Perino quoted a memo sent to employees by Fox head Rupert Murdoch: “By ratings standards, Bill is one of the most accomplished TV personalities in the history of cable news. In fact, his success, by any measure, is indisputable.”
Then she ended her flat monologue with one final message: “We wish him the very best,” she said.
I don’t think she really meant it.
What happens now? It’s unclear what O’Reilly will do. He is a best-selling author, newspaper columnist and he has his own popular website. He certainly doesn’t need to work for a living if he doesn’t want to.
Fox News announced that Tucker Carlson will take over O’Reilly’s 8 p.m. slot, with “The Five” running at 9 p.m. and Fox host Eric Bolling hosting a yet-unnamed one-hour primetime program.