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The final moments of The O’Reilly Factor: ‘A sad day,’ ‘new beginnings’

The O'Reilly Factor ends after two decades of cable news dominance. (Image source: YouTube)

The O’Reilly Factor aired its final episode on Friday night, and the feeling that an important era in cable news had ended and a new one was about to begin was palpable.

“In the ‘Back of the Book’ segment tonight, we have come to the last line of the last page of this book,” guest host Greg Gutfeld said. “As most of you know, this is the final Factor. It has been an honor to sit in this chair over the years of filling in for Bill O’Reilly and to being a guest for the most influential television news program in history. But as the curtain comes down on this show, another one will be raised on a new era.”

Gutfeld then brought on Tucker Carlson, who will be taking over the 8 p.m. timeslot for Fox News on Monday, April 24.

“Look, I’m a conservative. I don’t believe in change, necessarily,” Carlson said jokingly of his new show. “I don’t think we’re going to change things too much. I’m very aware of the history of this hour, the bigness of it, the success of it. And the audience, which is the key to all of it. I hope I can stay true to the basics of the hour. We’re going to be skeptical, as always. I think that’s the heart of journalism. You know, ask tough questions, be respectful—I think that’s ok. But you know, force people with power to account for they’re doing. That’s the theme.”

Gutfeld closed with these final words:

“As for those of us who have been part of the Factor team, a personal note: Even as we look forward to the new beginnings, this is a sad day here. Some of the people on the Factor staff have been here from the very beginning helping Bill O’Reilly create something that had never been done before. In the 20 years since the Factor has been on the air, Bill changed the way news is done, and his show became a sanctuary for you, our loyal viewers, who are not being well-served by the mainstream media.

“As for me, I’ve been privileged to play a small role with my weekly segments and my substitute hosting gigs. But I’ve never been in a situation like this before. How do I turn out the lights on such a venerable and amazing show? I can’t. It’s not my show and it’s not my place. So on behalf of all of us on the Factor, good night and Godspeed.”

The O’Reilly Factor dominated cable news for two decades. At the end of 2016, the show averaged 3.3 million viewers every night, often doubling or tripling the viewership of his competitors.

Despite his continued success, O’Reilly was forced out of his position by the Murdoch family, which owns Fox News, on 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,” 21st Century Fox, the Fox News Channel’s parent company, said in a statement.

O’Reilly has been accused by several women of sexual harassment and other inappropriate conduct, accusations O’Reilly vehemently denies.

“Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television,” O’Reilly said in a statement. “It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims.”

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