Stephen Colbert and 'Stephen Colbert' bid farewell to Bill O'Reilly

"After a thorough and careful review of allegations against him, the company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Mr. O'Reilly will not return to the Fox News Channel", the media kingpin said in a memo on Wednesday.

O'Reilly's behavior has been under scrutiny since a report in The New York Times that said he and Fox News have paid $13 million in settlements to women who have accused him of sexual harassment or abusive behavior going back to 2002. "But you have to put some spine back into the Murdoch family and the Fox News Channel board because you are about to lose Bill O'Reilly".

For two decades O'Reilly has ruled the "no spin zone" with USA cable news' most popular show, and his ratings had never been higher.

Activist groups such as the National Organization for Women have been bringing pressure to bear for weeks on the firm to fire O'Reilly in a case that NOW said became emblematic of the "culture of sexual harassment at Fox News" and requires an "immediate independent investigation".

It is unclear if the exit agreement between Fox and O'Reilly limits his ability to appear on other networks.

"The day will come when rich men won't be able to buy their way out of this criminal activity, and they will go to jail, and they should go to jail", she said.

"In many ways, he led Fox's cable news revolution", said Frank Sesno, a journalism professor at George Washington University and former CNN Washington bureau chief.

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Powers said she quit O'Reilly's show, but returned three years later.

O'Reilly remained defiant, calling it "disheartening" that he was pushed out of the network "due to completely unfounded claims".

Beginning on April 24, Tucker Carlson will take over the 8 p.m. time slot previously held by O'Reilly.

Dr Walsh told TODAY Extra she was invited to fly to NY to meet the host after she had appeared as a guest on the O'Reilly Factor from a Los Angeles studio. So then I went to my boss' office, I was called into my boss's office, "What can we do it's Bill. there's nothing we can do, we're sorry this happened to you, but there's nothing we can do".

Dana Perino, who has been filling in for O'Reilly since he announced an extended break earlier this month, announced that he was no longer with the network.

"It is the end of an era here at the Fox News Channel", she said. "A lot of women just don't talk about these things because if you make too much trouble, your career is over".

O'Reilly issued the statement shortly after Fox confirmed it had ended its relationship with him on Wednesday morning. A photographer from the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano snapped a photo of Francis reaching out to shake his hand. One of its current hosts, Eric Bolling, will host a new 5 p.m. show beginning May 1.

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