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Greta Van Susteren is set to depart Fox News after 14 years, with senior political analyst Brit Hume taking over as host of her program, On the Record, through the election.
The announcement came Tuesday morning from Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine, who were recently elevated to co-presidents of the network in the wake of the departure of Roger Ailes amid sexual harassment allegations. No reason was cited for Van Susteren’s departure, but a source close to the situation tells The Hollywood Reporter it came down to a “financial disagreement.” Van Susteren was known to have a key man clause in her contract that allowed her to depart in the event Ailes did. But she has said publicly that she had no intention of exercising that clause, though she did come out early to defend Ailes after Gretchen Carlson filed her lawsuit. Other Fox News personalities with such a clause include Bill O’Reilly, who anchors the network’s top-rated show; Bret Baier, who has been integral to the network’s election coverage; and 10 p.m. host Sean Hannity.
Van Susteren was among the first of Fox News’ female employees to speak up in defense of Ailes, before leaks from an internal investigation began to uncover allegations from multiple additional women. Ailes through his attorney has denied the allegations.
The press release announcing Van Susteren’s departure offers a brief thank-you from Abernethy and Shine: “We are grateful for Greta’s many contributions over the years and wish her continued success.”
Van Susteren would have marked her 15th year at the network in January. The release does not include a statement from her. And her Twitter feed was active on Tuesday morning but did not directly address her exit. Rather, she has replied to tweets from colleagues, including Geraldo Rivera, who characterized the announcement as “stunning news” and said he had no idea why Van Susteren was leaving.
But around noon on Tuesday, she posted a brief update on her Facebook page acknowledging her departure. Van Susteren notes that she made the decision last Thursday and that the network “has not felt like a home to me for a few years” and that she “took advantage of a clause” in her contract that allowed her to leave.
The Fox News release announcing Van Susteren’s departure and Hume’s ascension to her 7 p.m. seat mostly talks about Hume, a veteran anchor who stepped down from Washington-based Special Report in 2008 and has been a senior political analyst on the network ever since.
“As one of the best political analysts in the industry, Brit is the ideal choice to host a nightly political program while the most dynamic and captivating election in recent history unfolds,” Abernethy and Shine said in a joint statement. “Having Brit at the helm of this show will enable Fox News to continue on track to have its highest-rated year ever as the network dominates the cable news landscape.”
Hume added: “I am happy to take on this assignment for the balance of this extraordinary election. My Fox News colleagues have set a high standard for political coverage which I’ll do my best to uphold. I’m honored to be asked.”
Van Susteren’s full Facebook post:
On Thursday night, I made my decision and informed Fox News of my decision that I was leaving Fox News Channel per my contract. Fox has not felt like home to me for a few years and I took advantage of the clause in my contract which allows me to leave now. The clause had a time limitation, meaning I could not wait.
I love my staff, I love my colleagues, and I love the crews. That is the hardest part of this decision as they are wonderful people.
And most of all? I love the viewers — even the ones who have gotten mad at me over the years and taken swipes. 🙂
I hope to continue my career in broadcasting.
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