O'Reilly's departure creates new challenges for Fox

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In a statement of his own released later Wednesday afternoon, O'Reilly said, "It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims". Fox News says that they made a decision to move on from O'Reilly after an investigation that was done in collaboration with an outside party; the allegations are still just that, but there was obviously enough concern about them to cause dozens of advertisers to pull their ads.

Dozens of advertisers ditched "The O'Reilly Factor" after a New York Times report detailed $13 million in payouts to five women over his alleged abusive behavior; more allegations subsequently emerged.

O'Reilly is on a almost two-week vacation at the same time Fox News Channel's parent company looks into a woman's accusation that her career was slowed when she spurned his advances.

Pope Francis shakes hands with TV host Bill O'Reilly, second from right, during his weekly general audience, at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

The announcement comes at hard time for Fox News, whose former chairman Roger Ailes resigned previous year after a sexual harassment lawsuit by former anchor Gretchen Carlson.

Ailes, 76, launched the network in 1996 and oversaw its development into a high-ratings TV network and an effective PR platform for Republican politics.

O'Reilly is also one of the country's most popular nonfiction authors. Fox News Channel announced Wednesday O'Reilly has immediately departed the network. That's why I think it's important to give a lot of credit to [former Fox News anchor] Gretchen Carlson for coming out and really being the person who started this conversation.

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When it announced Ailes' departure last summer, 21st Century Fox said that it would "continue our commitment to maintaining a work environment based on trust and respect".

"Bill O'Reilly has been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America", Marc Kasowitz said in a statement.

Both O'Reilly and Ailes have vehemently denied the allegations against them. Since then, another unnamed woman at Fox News came forward to accuse O'Reilly of sexual harassment this week.

"If Twenty-First Century Fox genuinely wants to achieve that result, it will resolve without delay the claims of women, like Julie Roginsky, who have been harassed, intimidated, demeaned and discriminated against", Smith said in a statement. Carlson will take over O'Reilly's 8 p.m. time slot, starting next week, and "The Five" will move into Carlson's current, 9 p.m. spot. He still went ahead and signed a new contract with Fox, however.

O'Reilly changed the cable news game by putting his point of view and personality ahead of reporting. The impact the scandal could have on 21st Century Fox's attempts to purchase European broadcaster Sky? Fox News media analyst and host of Fox News' MediaBuzz Howard Kurtz is here with details.

All eyes will now focus on O'Reilly's replacement. Burke, a former Fox News correspondent in Rome, denied having facilitated the tickets.