When Bill O'Reilly recently left Fox News to go on vacation, the longtime host was making headlines for The O'Reilly Factor's excellent recent ratings, as well as making many more headline over reports that he and network execs had paid off a series of women over the years who'd slapped O'Reilly with sexual harassment lawsuits. Last night, Rupert Murdoch was weighing the option to boot the popular conservative, and now it sounds like O'Reilly was not only fired, but that the moves are in motion to replace him, perhaps as early as next week.

The line is allegedly in the sand for Bill O'Reilly's big ousting from Fox News, where he's been a major force since 1996, when the network came into being. According to New York Magazine, discussions were being had Wednesday morning the best way to handle pulling the plug on The O'Reilly Factor and its host's network involvement, with the aim being to kick up as little dust as possible. One key decision to be made was reportedly whether or not to let him return from his vacation on April 24 to provide an official farewell to audiences, and while it's not entirely clear where things stand on that front, it appears his full-time duties as a Fox News voicebox are complete.

bill o'reilly shocked face

Gabriel Sherman, an editor with New York Magazine -- as well as a contributor to NBC News and MSNBC -- is where the news about Bill O'Reilly's replacement surfaced. And Sherman recently posted the following, indicating that Tucker Carlson would be the big man on Monday nights now.

An alleged copy of the internal memo that Rupert Murdoch allegedly shared with Fox News employees was posted on Twitter, seemingly confirming Bill O'Reilly's firing.

Much as paying off someone to settle a lawsuit is an indication of neither guilt nor innocence, Fox News' decision to excise Bill O'Reilly over his sexual harassment suits says nothing of the cases themselves or the details behind them. (O'Reilly, of course, has denied everything, basically blaming the women for trying to hurt him and his family.) What it does say, however, is Rupert Murdoch is probably sick of dealing with his high-profile employees facing multiple claims of sexual misconduct.

There will no doubt be much more to say about this situation in the coming days and week (and months and years), so stay tuned. And head to our midseason premiere schedule and our summer TV guide to catch up with all the non-news shows coming soon.

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