Fox News host and former White House press secretary Dana Perino was the one to give the sendoff to Bill O'Reilly on what is now his former show.

During the 8 p.m. hour on Fox, Perino opened the show by vaguely referring to the star anchor's departure from the channel, which came Wednesday amid a highly controversal accusation that he had sexually harassed a number of women.

Perino, looking into the camera, said that O'Reilly's "very loyal viewers will have a lot of feelings about this" and she said more comments on the matter would come later in the program.

O'Reilly's name had been removed from the show's graphic that usually feature "The O'Reilly Factor" spelled out. The image, instead, simply said, "The Factor."

The announcement from Fox that O'Reilly was leaving the channel came after hours of intense social- and other media speculation that he was finally on his way out. The controversy was first triggered by a New York Times article earlier this month that revealed Fox and O'Reilly had settled multiple sexual harassment claims with a number of women, totaling in the millions of dollars.

"After a thorough and careful review of allegations against him, the Company and Bill O'Reilly have agreed that Mr. O'Reilly will not return to the Fox News Channel," 21st Century Fox said in a statement Wednesday.

O'Reilly has been on vacation in Italy, where he met Pope Francis.

He released a statment Wednesday praising Fox and further said that it was "tremendously disheartening" to be leaving "due to completely unfounded claims" in his sexual harassment scandal.

At the end of the show Wednesday, Perino offered what she said were personal comments on the issue.

"It is the end of an era at the Fox News Channel," she said.

"As we mentioned earlier, Bill O'Reilly is leaving this chair and this network after more than 20 years. Bill has been the undisputed king of cable news and for good reason. He is an incredibly talented broadcaster who raised the bar for interviewers everywhere. He has also held his staff to exacting standards in his quest to put the best possible program on the air and they are great."

She added that his viewers have "been loyal and we can't tell you how much that means to everyone on 'The Factor'" and she read from a portion of statement by the executives of Fox's parent company, which praised his talents.

It's unclear what O'Reilly will do going forward. He is a prolific best-selling author, newspaper columnist and heads a personal website with original video content.

His publisher, the MacMillan imprint called Henry Holt, has said it had no plans to end its relationship with O'Reilly, according to the New Republic.

An internal Fox memo instructed staff of the channel's new prime-time program lineup. Taking O'Reilly's 8 p.m. slot is the new and popular "Tucker Tonight," hosted by Tucker Carlson, whose show previously followed O'Reilly's.

Taking Carlson's spot at 9 p.m. is "The Five," which currently runs at 5 p.m.

Beginning on May 1, Fox host Eric Bolling will debut an as-yet untitled one-hour program.