Billy O’Reilly’s name has already been erased from his long-running Fox News show, The O’Reilly Factor, in the wake of his dramatic firing after 20 years at the network. The program was renamed The Factor on the awkward Wednesday, April 19, episode, hours after 21st Century Fox released a statement announcing O’Reilly’s exit.
Guest host Dana Perino addressed the disgraced political commentator’s departure at the start of the hour-long show. “Bill O’Reilly, who hosted this program for 20 years, is leaving the Fox News Channel,” she said. “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.”
After the hour was nearly up, the top-rated conservative host, 67, got a short farewell mention. “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 had 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.”
She also mentioned the show’s new title, which had been stripped of O’Reilly’s name. “And you, his audience, responded in record numbers, making The Factor the No. 1 cable news show for more than 16 years,” she said. “You have also been loyal, and we can’t tell you how much that means to everyone on The Factor.”
As previously reported, O’Reilly was forced out at Fox News after sexual harassment allegations. In recent weeks, The New York Times revealed that O’Reilly and the network had reached settlements with five women who had complained against him, with compensation totaling almost $13 million. The TV personality has maintained his innocence, saying in a statement that “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.”