In a stunning turn of events, Fox News announced Greta Van Susteren will be leaving Fox News effective immediately, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Brit Hume will take over hosting duties for Van Susteren’s On the Record program throughout the remainder of the presidential election.
Van Susteren’s exit comes as a bit of a surprise, as she has been a stalwart at the network for 14 years. She even stood by former network chief Roger Ailes amid sexual harassment allegations from a number of former employees, including Gretchen Carlson. There was no clear indication as to why she left, but the Hollywood Reporter pinpointed a clause in her contract that would allow her to exit in the event of Ailes’s departure. As for Fox News’ statement on Van Susteren’s exit, it only briefly mentioned her as network co-presidents Jack Abernethy and Bill Shine talked mostly about her replacement:
“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. 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. We are grateful for Greta’s many contributions over the years and wish her continued success.”
BuzzFeed News reports when Ailes resigned in July, Van Susteren was looking to renegotiate her contract. Yet those talks were apparently stalled, so the media personality used a “key man” clause that allowed her to exit the contract early.
Van Susteren is the first network personality to leave after Ailes’s resignation. What’s more, network stars — including Megyn Kelly, Sean Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly — have the same “key man” clause. The network apparently wants to change its culture, as Rupert Murdoch wants to move past the Ailes episode, do we may not see a massive staff exodus just yet.
Van Susteren also took to Facebook to confirm her departure and said, “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.”