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Fox executives ousting Bill O'Reilly

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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. Embattled Fox News Channel host Bill O’Reilly hasn’t taken this much time off consecutively in March or April for at least 10 years. O’Reilly says he’s off “The O’Reilly Factor” until April 24. Cable television’s most popular host has seen an advertiser exodus following reports of settlements reached with five women to keep quiet about harassment accusations. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

At least two major news outlets reported 21st Century Fox executives planned to announce embattled television news host Bill O'Reilly's departure from the Fox News network.

21st Centruy Fox confirmed the exit Wednesday afternoon, “the Company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

The news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, which is owned by the same company as Fox News.

"Fox News is preparing to cut ties with star anchor Bill O'Reilly," the Journal published Tuesday night.

New York Magazine fueled speculation of O'Reilly's ouster Wednesday.

"Wednesday morning, according to sources, executives are holding emergency meetings to discuss how they can sever the relationship with the country’s highest-rated cable-news host without causing collateral damage to the network," New York Magazine's Gabriel Sherman writes. "The board of Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, is scheduled to meet on Thursday to discuss the matter."

O'Reilly is taking a vacation from his Fox News Channel show amid sponsor defections triggered by sexual harassment allegations.

Announcing the break at the end of his April 11 show, O'Reilly made a point of saying it was planned and long in the works. He said he will return April 24, The Associated Press reported.

Around this time of year, "I grab some vacation, because it's spring and Easter time. Last fall, I booked a trip that should be terrific," he said.

His vacation announcement comes as about 60 companies said they won't advertise on his show. The exodus followed a recent report in The New York Times that five women were paid a total of $13 million to keep quiet about harassment allegations.

Viewership dropped by 23 percent amid his absence.

Negotiations are said to be moving quickly.

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