Bill O’Reilly’s name was unceremoniously taken off cable news’ highest rated show Wednesday night, hours after Fox News cut ties with the longtime host plagued by numerous harassment allegations.
Fill-in host Dana Perino bid the 67-year-old farewell on his show Wednesday, renamed simply The Factor, calling him, "the undisputed king of cable news."
O'Reilly's name was noticeably scrubbed from the program's logo, and his likeness was removed from the windows of the Fox News headquarters on Manhattan's 6th Avenue.
“Before we get to any other big stories of the day, we want to address a situation many of you may already be aware of," Perino told said at the top of the show. "Bill O’Reilly, who hosted this program for 20 years, is leaving the Fox News Channel.
"We know that you, his very loyal viewers, will have a lot of feelings about this."
As she closed the show, Perino added: “He is an incredibly talented broadcaster who raised the bar for interviewers everywhere. He has also held his staff to exacting standards in his quest to put the best possible program on the air, and they are great."
Fox News officially announced O’Reilly's ouster Wednesday.
"After a thorough and careful review of the allegations the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News channel,” the network said in a statement.
O’Reilly was coincidentally on vacation as rumors of his dismissal swirled. When the news broke, he was greeting Pope Francis at the Vatican during The Pontiff's weekly audience, a meeting that was reportedly arranged by New York’s Cardinal Jim Dolan.
The caustic host was fired over sexual harassment claims which he vehemently denies.
O'Reilly issued a defiant statement before flying back to America: “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. I wish only the best for Fox News channel.”
Tucker Carlson, who replaced Megyn Kelly in the 9 p.m. hour last fall to even higher ratings than what she was earning as host of The Kelly File, will become the new host of The Factor starting Monday.
Carlson’s move will cause a shift in the Fox News programming. The Factor will run at 8 p.m., and network’s afternoon show, The Five, will move into the 9 p.m. slot previously occupied by Carlson.
The late night comics had plenty to say about the O’Reilly’s downfall.
“Bill O’Reilly has been fired from Fox News after being accused of sexually harassing up to 12 women," Conan O’Brien joked. "Apparently O’Reilly violated Fox’s strict 11-women limit.”
On The Tonight Show, Jimmy Fallon gagged: “Earlier today O’Reilly actually met with Pope Francis at the Vatican... When he saw O’Reilly going to confession, the next guy in line said, ‘You know what, I’ll come back tomorrow.'"
James Corden had his audience in stitches when he said: “In addition to being cable’s top-rated host, O’Reilly’s written a number of best-selling books — including Killing Lincoln, Killing Reagan and Killing Kennedy. And I really look forward to his next book, Killing Time at Home.
“Let’s give Bill his proper due, because you may not know this, but Bill O’Reilly was the biggest figure in the history of cable news. At one point, no one even came close. Because they were afraid that he might sexually harass them,” Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show as he played a montage of clips showcasing O’Reilly’s temper.
Stephen Colbert who spent nine years lampooning O'Reilly on his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report, returned to a bombastic parody of the Fox News host.
Colbert appeared in the familiar character from his Comedy Central days as he called O’Reilly “Papa Bear” and said: “You didn’t deserve this great man!”
Colbert switched between his actual self to the character seamlessly in the bit, leaving his audience begging for more.