The final ‘Factor’ goes down with ‘goodnight and Godspeed’

Fox News’ Greg Gutfeld hosted the last episode of “The O’Reilly Factor” and bid a fond farewell to its star, Bill O’Reilly.

O’Reilly, who was unceremoniously fired this week, was unable to say his final goodbye to his loyal fans, who made The O’Reilly Factor the No. 1 cable news show for the past 16 years. The usually comical Gutfeld was somber as he delivered his closing thoughts:

In the ‘Back of the Book’ segment tonight, we have come to the last line of the last page of this book. As most of you know, this is the final ‘Factor.’ It has been an honor to sit in this chair over the years of filling in for Bill O’Reilly and to being a guest for the most influential television news program in history. But as the curtain comes down on this show, another one will be raised on a new era.

Gutfeld then spoke with Tucker Carlson, who will take over the 8 p.m. time slot starting on Monday. Carlson said he was “very aware of the history of this hour,” and promised not to let down Fox News’ loyal viewers.

Afterward, Gutfeld closed the last minute of “The Factor” with this emotional tribute to Bill O’Reilly:

As for those of us who have been part of the Factor team, a personal note. Even as we look forward to the new beginnings, this is a sad day here. Some of the people on ‘The Factor’ staff have been here from the very beginning helping Bill O’Reilly create something that had never been done before. In the 20 years since ‘The Factor’ has been on the air, Bill changed the way news is done, and his show became a sanctuary for you, our loyal viewers, who are not being well-served by the mainstream media.

As for me, I’ve been privileged to play a small role with my weekly segments and my substitute hosting gigs. But I’ve never been in a situation like this before. How do I turn out the lights on such a venerable and amazing show? I can’t. It’s not my show and it’s not my place. So on behalf of all of us on ‘The Factor,’ good night and Godspeed.

In a final apparent diss to O’Reilly, Fox News did not provide a video of Gutfeld’s farewell to Bill. So he slammed the “butchered” version that Mediaite posted:

Meanwhile, heartbroken O’Reilly fans bid their own farewell to the undisputed cable news king:

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