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Wednesday
Apr122017

Bill O'Reilly's show to be 'unchanged' until return from vacation

NBC/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Amid a simmering scandal from misconduct allegations, star Fox News host Bill O’Reilly has gone off the air for what’s described as a long-planned vacation, with his representative saying his show “will remain unchanged until Mr. O’Reilly’s return post-vacation.”

O’Reilly has come under fire since an April 1 story in The New York Times detailed alleged settlements made between the host and five women who accused him of harassment and sexual misconduct.

While Mark Fabiani, O’Reilly’s rep, Tuesday said “the arrangements, including airline and hotel reservations, for this vacation were made last October,” a report in New York magazine Tuesday, citing four unnamed sources associated with the network, said “there’s talk inside Fox News that tonight’s show could be his last.”

“The vacation involves a group of people, and the timing coincides with the period Mr. O’Reilly often takes off in and around his children’s spring break,” Fabiani also said.

Asked whether viewers could expect changes to his show after O’Reilly’s return, the rep said he wasn’t aware of any.

ABC News could not verify New York magazine’s reporting.

O’Reilly has denied any wrongdoing, suggesting to The New York Times in a statement that he is a target because of his fame.

“Just like other prominent and controversial people,” the statement read, “I’m vulnerable to lawsuits from individuals who want me to pay them to avoid negative publicity. In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.”

Earlier this week, 21st Century Fox enlisted law firm Paul Weiss to probe at least one complaint made against O’Reilly, though O’Reilly’s rep, Fabiani, told The New York Times the law firm had already been hired to investigate all hotline calls.

The company said in a statement, "21st Century Fox investigates all complaints and we have asked the law firm Paul Weiss to continue assisting the company in these serious matters."

Some of the settlements reported in The New York Times’ story were already known and date back as far as 2004. ABC News has not been able to independently verify the payouts reported by the Times.

As for O'Reilly's show, a spokesman for Fox News said he was scheduled to return April 24 and that the vacation was planned in advance. A spokesman for Fox News’ parent company, 21st Century Fox, declined to comment.

At the end of his program Tuesday night, O’Reilly announced his vacation, saying he took time “often around this time of year .... because it’s spring and Easter time.”

The controversy surrounding O'Reilly comes nine months after Fox News' former chief, Roger Ailes, was pressured into resigning amid allegations of sexual misconduct leveled against him by former female members of Fox News' staff. Ailes has denied all wrongdoing.

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