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The Latest: Fox News addresses O'Reilly departure

Posted April 19

FILE - In this Oct. 1, 2015 file photo, host Bill O'Reilly of "The O'Reilly Factor" on the Fox News Channel, poses for photos in the set in New York. There was no immediate response from Bill O'Reilly's bosses Wednesday, April 19, 2017, to escalating reports that the Fox News Channel personality will lose his job following accusations he had harassed women. New York magazine said that Rupert Murdoch and his sons James and Lachlan, who run Fox parent 21st Century Fox, had decided that O'Reilly was out and executives were planning the exit. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

— The Latest on Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly (all times local):

8:30 p.m.

Fox News addressed the departure of Bill O'Reilly Wednesday night, as the show that used to bear his name debuted as simply "The Factor."

Dana Perino, who has been filling in for O'Reilly since he announced an extended break earlier this month, announced that he was no longer with the network.

Perino said at the top of the show that, "We know you, his loyal viewers, will have a lot of feelings about it."

Both Fox and O'Reilly confirmed O'Reilly's departure from the network earlier Wednesday.

His ouster came after reports that five women had been paid millions of dollars to keep quiet about harassment allegations. O'Reilly has maintained his innocence.

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6:10 p.m.

The National Geographic channel says it has made no decision about its development of Bill O'Reilly's book "Killing Patton" following O'Reilly's exit from Fox News.

In a statement Wednesday, the channel confirmed that the TV adaptation is in early development for 2019. The channel said it was focusing on presenting its 2018 programming to advertisers and wasn't making decisions beyond that for now.

The National Geographic channel has aired a series of adaptations of O'Reilly books, including "Killing Reagan" and "Killing Kennedy." The channel's majority owner is Fox News Channel parent company 21st Century Fox.

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5:15 p.m.

In the wake of his firing Wednesday, former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly maintained that sexual harassment claims against him were not true, calling his dismissal over the allegations "tremendously disheartening."

The network's most popular personality was fired after a New York Time report earlier this month that said five women had been paid $13 million in settlements after they alleged sexual harassment and mistreatment.

O'Reilly, who was with the network for 20 years, said he was proud of his time at Fox. He thanked his viewers and noted the success Fox had achieved.

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2:55 p.m.

Fox News Channel says "Tucker Carlson Tonight" will begin airing an hour earlier to fill the time slot vacated by Bill O'Reilly, who lost his job Wednesday after allegations that he sexually harassed women.

Starting Monday, Carlson's show will be followed at 9 p.m. EDT by "The Five," relocating from its afternoon slot.

"The Five" will be replaced at 5 p.m. EDT by a one-hour program hosted by Eric Bolling, to debut May 1. Next week, "Special Report with Bret Baier" will fill the 5-to-7-p.m. timeslot.

At 7 p.m. EDT, Martha MacCullum remains in place.

The departed O'Reilly's "The Factor" will continue through this week with Dana Perino hosting Wednesday and Thursday night, and Greg Gutfield on Friday.

Rounding out the Fox prime-time lineup, "Hannity" remains at 10 p.m. EDT.

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2:43 p.m.

Bill O'Reilly has lost his job at Fox News Channel following reports that five women had been paid millions of dollars to keep quiet about harassment allegations.

21st Century Fox issued a statement Wednesday that "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.

He had been scheduled to return from a vacation next Monday. O'Reilly was photographed in Rome shaking Pope Francis' hand on Wednesday.

It marks a stunning end to a near perfect marriage between a pugnacious personality and network. For two decades O'Reilly has ruled the "no spin zone" with cable news' most popular show, and his ratings had never been higher.

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1:23 p.m.

Embattled Fox News host Bill O'Reilly had a brief handshake with Pope Francis on Wednesday as sexual harassment allegations dog him at home.

O'Reilly is on a vacation that on Wednesday took him to Francis' general audience in St. Peter's Square. His trip came as Fox News Channel's parent company 21st Century Fox is investigating sexual harassment allegations against him. Dozens of his show's advertisers have fled following a report that five women were paid $13 million in settlements after they alleged harassment or mistreatment. O'Reilly has denied wrongdoing.

On Wednesday, he was seated in the VIP section, where a photographer from the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano snapped a photo of Francis reaching out to shake his hand.

Francis always swings by the VIP seats at the end of his audience for a quick round of handshakes.

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1:15 p.m.

There was no immediate response from Bill O'Reilly's bosses Wednesday to escalating reports that the Fox News Channel personality will lose his job following accusations he had harassed women.

New York magazine reported Wednesday, based on unnamed sources, that Rupert Murdoch and sons James and Lachlan, who run Fox parent 21st Century Fox, had decided that O'Reilly was out and executives were planning the exit. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal, a newspaper owned by the Murdochs, wrote that the company was preparing to cut ties with O'Reilly.

The New York Times reported April 1 that five women had been paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about unpleasant encounters with O'Reilly, who has denied any wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, on vacation in Rome Wednesday, O'Reilly shook Pope Francis' hand.

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This story has been corrected to show that the downfall of O'Reilly began with an April 1, not April 2 report in The New York Times.

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