By Jessica Toonkel
(Reuters) – Bill O’Reilly will receive a maximum of one year’s salary following his ouster from Fox News, a source familiar with the situation said on Thursday.
Fox News parent Twenty-First Century Fox Inc announced on Wednesday it had parted ways with the star cable news host, ending his more than 20-year career, following allegations of sexual harassment from a number of women.
The source declined to comment on O’Reilly’s annual salary, but CNN reported on Thursday that the host’s new contract provided about $25 million a year.
O’Reilly’ severance is the latest payment in what has turned out to be a costly situation for Fox News. The New York Times reported on April 1 that Fox and O’Reilly paid five women a total of $13 million to settle harassment claims. O’Reilly said in a statement at the time that he had settled only to spare his children from controversy.
O’Reilly, who has been off the air on vacation since April 11, said in a written statement on Wednesday he was proud of his “unprecedented success” at Fox.
“It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims. But that is the unfortunate reality many of us in the public eye must live with today,” O’Reilly said in the statement.
In July, the company paid former head of Fox News, Roger Ailes, a severance package of about $40 million, following allegations of sexual harassment.
Ailes in his resignation letter did not indicate he did anything wrong.
O’Reilly’s show, “The O’Reilly Factor,” has been the most watched program on Fox News and was coming off the highest-rated first quarter in its history, averaging 4 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
O’Reilly will be replaced in his prime-time lineup by Fox host Tucker Carlson.
(Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; Editing by Tom Brown)