O'Reilly's behavior has been under scrutiny since an April 1 report in the New York Times that said he and Fox News have paid $13 million in settlements against women who have accused him of sexual harassment or abusive behavior going back to 2002. For two decades O'Reilly has ruled the "no spin zone" with cable news' most popular show, and his ratings had never been higher.
"It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims".
In a statement posted on his Web site, O'Reilly said he was "extremely proud" of his time at Fox News, which he said "significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television".
Meanwhile, O'Reilly's departure will dramatically alter the Fox nightly lineup. More than 50 advertisers withdrew from his prime-time show, and 21st Century Fox asked a law firm to investigate a complaint from a woman who said O'Reilly dropped efforts to make her a contributor in 2013 after she turned down his invitation to visit his hotel room.
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.
A security guard looks out of the the News Corp. headquarters in Midtown Manhattan, Wednesday, April 19, 2017.
"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", the statement read.
In a memo to Fox staff on Wednesday, the Murdochs said the decision followed an extensive review done in collaboration with an outside counsel.
His 8 p.m. time slot has gone to Tucker Carlson. "Fox News should have fired him in 2004 when (former Fox News producer) Andrea Mackris spoke out, but at least they did it now", she said. "The Factor" will continue until then, with guests hosts Dana Perino tonight and Thursday night and Greg Gutfeld on Friday night.
Representatives at Fox News and its parent, 21st Century Fox, were not immediately available for comment about how O'Reilly might be replaced.
His show generated $178 million in advertising revenue in 2015, according to Kantar Media. He still went ahead and signed a new contract with Fox, however. With a profit center gone, 21st Century Fox stock fell nearly 1 percent Wednesday in heavy trading.
The U.S. Attorney's office in NY is investigating how 21st Century Fox handled the Roger Ailes scandal. Ousting O'Reilly, he said, "does not speak to a changed culture".
It is unclear if the exit agreement between Fox and O'Reilly limits his ability to appear on other networks. While Fox's two biggest rivals, CNN and MSNBC, would not be interested in hiring him, conservative upstarts like Newsmax or One America News (OANN) could be.
"You need to write and call Fox News Channel today and tell them, you can lose your advertisers or you can lose your viewers", Beck said on his radio show hours before the firing.