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Fox News has been making headlines for some pretty unpleasant reasons for the past few months. Despite his previous status as top dog of the network, Bill O'Reilly has been causing all kinds of unfortunate buzz due to a number of sexual harassment settlements that have gone public. O'Reilly settled lawsuits with a number of women, and the payouts equal about $13 million. Now, O'Reilly may be in even deeper trouble. According to recent reports, he may in fact lose his job at Fox News.
Bill O'Reilly is currently on vacation from his work as host of The O'Reilly factor, but the folks behind the scenes and at the very top at Fox News have reportedly been seriously discussing his future at the network. Three sources have come out and indicated that the three Murdoch men in control of O'Reilly's fate at Fox News are divided on whether or not to return him to air. James and Lachlan Murdoch are reportedly leaning toward dumping O'Reilly from the network, but their father Rupert isn't on board just yet.
Once upon a time, it would have been almost unfeasible that Bill O'Reilly could be booted from Fox News. He's one of the biggest names in the cable news game, and he's definitely on top at Fox News. The negative publicity of the last three months has created a set of factors that really may drive the Murdochs to oust him. The first and most basic factor is simply that there has been significant ad-revenue decline ever since the news of the lawsuits broke. A large number of major companies pulled their ads from The O'Reilly Factor. The ratings didn't take an immediate dip, but the ad-revenue evidently did.
Another factor is the atmosphere at Fox News is evidently rather tense at the moment. According to nymag.com, female employees have become frustrated that the Murdochs seemingly did not work hard enough to stem the tide of sexual harassment, referring to both Bill O'Reilly and ousted C.E.O. Roger Ailes. One female employee reported that many workers are wondering if the sexual harassment settlements for O'Reilly affected their budgets. If the Murdochs don't do something, the morale at Fox News could become a serious hindrance to productivity.
A third factor is another deal that the Murdochs are working on, this time in Europe. The Murdochs have shelled out billions of dollars for a proposed takeover of the pay-TV provider Sky, and the question currently holding the deal back is if they're "fit and proper" to handle operations. There's a chance that firing Bill O'Reilly and putting an end to some of the negative buzz could make the deal go smoothly with Sky.