For the vast majority of its 21-year existence, Bill O'Reilly was the biggest star on Fox News. The TV host was fired earlier this week after he was accused of sexual harassment by at least seven women who either worked for him or appeared on his show. Five of those women were paid over $13 million by O'Reilly and Fox News to settle lawsuits while sponsors quickly abandoned his show.
"The O'Reilly Factor" certainly had considerable pulling power and the removal of its host was a stunning move. It's also a move that could prove deeply unpopular with the show's massive fan base. As the following infographic shows, O'Reilly had more viewers in the first quarter of 2017 than CNN's two most popular cable news shows combined. Fox News already suffered a recent blow when Megyn Kelly left to join NBC and the loss of their ratings juggernaut will prove an even more bitter pill to swallow. Even though O'Reilly's removal won't be a crippling blow to the network, Fox News could see the ratings for its entire prime-time lineup fall by at least 25 percent.
This chart shows average viewers per episode of the biggest prime-time cable news shows in the US (Q1 2017).
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