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Bill O’Reilly was at the center of the action at Fox News for many years, and The O’Reilly Factor was consistently a huge ratings-winner on the cable news circuit. Now, however, O’Reilly has been booted from the network in the wake of a scandal involving sexual harassment allegations. He won’t be leaving Fox News with empty pockets, however, as we now know that he’ll take home a hefty chunk of change after his departure. Bill O’Reilly could be paid $25 million to leave.

No, I promise that’s not a typo. Bill O’Reilly may get $25 million to move on from Fox News. A source close to Fox News has reported that the former O’Reilly Factor host could receive a maximum of one year’s salary as his severance for being terminated from the network. Although Reuters reports that O’Reilly’s official salary has not been released, CNN has stated that his latest contract involved an annual salary of around $25 million.

All things considered, the sexual harassment allegations and lawsuits against Bill O’Reilly have been quite expensive for Fox News over the years. News broke earlier this month that Fox and O’Reilly settled five lawsuits with women who accused O’Reilly of misconduct, leading to settlements totaling around $13 million. Throw in the decreased revenue of The O’Reilly Factor after a large number of notable advertisers chose to pull their ads from airing during the show, and the scandal has been ugly and costly for the network.

We’ll likely never get any exact figures, but the possible $25 million severance package on top of the $13 million in settlements and the ad revenue decrease, and the entire fiasco will cost more than $40 million. For the employees at Fox News who have been wondering if Bill O’Reilly’s settlement payouts affected their budgets, the $25 million price for his departure undoubtedly doesn’t come as reassuring news.

Bill O’Reilly’s severance package is the second pricy payout required of Fox News after the termination of a prominent member of the team. In the summer of 2016, Fox News head honcho Roger Ailes was ousted in the wake of sexual harassment allegations, and his departure cost approximately $40 million. Despite riding the ratings tide of the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath, Fox News has been having some serious trouble.

It should be interesting to see how Fox News does or does not recover from losing O’Reilly. His ousting is being praised by many who felt that his alleged behavior more than warranted termination, but there’s no denying that he was a big part of Fox News’ success. The O’Reilly factor continued to enjoy impressive ratings even as the scandal developed; Fox may be hard-pressed to find a way to fill O’Reilly’s place in the lineup. The network has chosen host Tucker Carlson to step into the slot right off the bat; only time will tell if Fox News will stick with Carlson in the long run or not.

April 20, 2017

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