Former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly, ousted due to sexual harassment allegations, will walk away with as much as $25 million in severance, according to media outlets.
O’Reilly, dismissed Wednesday as host of the top-rated commentary show “The O’Reilly Factor,” will receive a maximum of one year’s salary, a person familiar with the matter told CNBC. That sum was spelled out in his new four-year contract. The contract reportedly allowed Fox News parent 21st Century Fox (FOXA) to dismiss him if new allegations of sexual impropriety surfaced.
Citing a person with direct knowledge of the commentator’s contract, NBC News reported that O’Reilly’s annual salary amounts to about $25 million.
Fox on Wednesday announced that it was ending his more than two decade-long career at the broadcaster, following allegations of sexual harassment from a number of women. An April 1 New York Times story said the company paid a total of roughly $13 million in settlements to five women who worked at or appeared on his show,
The company, whose stock dipped almost 1 percent on Wednesday as news of O’Reilly’s departure broke, was up 1.9 percent in early afternoon trading Thursday.
Wall Street analysts don’t expect the damage from his removal to last too long for Fox, which is a veritable money machine. His program in 2017’s first quarter was the top-rated show on cable TV among the prized 25-54 age group, with an average of 728,000 viewers per episode.