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Fox News star Dan Bongino leaves network over failed contract negotiations

 April 21, 2023

Political commentator Dan Bongino, a former NYPD officer and U.S. Secret Service agent, has been a star at Fox News for the past decade as either a regular contributor or, more recently, as a program host.

That era has now ended, Bongino announced on Thursday, following a failure between him and the network to agree on the terms of a contract extension, the Daily Mail reported.

The host of "Unfiltered" on Saturdays and "Canceled in the USA" on the Fox Nation streaming service made it clear that there were no hard feelings or a secret fight behind closed doors and repeatedly stressed that failed contract negotiations was the sole reason for his sudden departure from the cable network he called home for the past 10 years.

Fox News confirms Bongino departure

Forbes was the first to report that Bongino shared the news of his unanticipated exit from Fox News at the start of his self-titled podcast show on Thursday.

"Folks, regretfully, last week was my last show on Fox News on the Fox News Channel," Bongino said. "It’s tough. It’s tough to say that. You know, I’ve been there doing hits and working there for ten years ... so the show ending was tough."

"And I want you to know it’s not some big conspiracy. I promise you. There’s no acrimony. This wasn’t some WWE brawl that happened. We just couldn’t come to terms on an extension," he insisted.

The news was confirmed to Forbes in a brief statement from Fox News, which simply said, "We thank Dan for his contributions and wish him success in his future endeavors."

It was also confirmed that the April 15 episode of "Unfiltered" was the final episode of that program, and though Bongino shared that he had been offered an opportunity to do one additional episode for the coming weekend he had decided not to do so.

Network must now replace top-rated star

"I really enjoyed myself there. They were good for me for ten years," Bongino said of his time at Fox News, according to the Daily Mail, and noted, "It’s a sad day."

"They did give me the opportunity to do one last show, I don’t want you to think they showed me the door. That’s on me, not on them, but I thought it was best to go this way for now," he continued.

In place of Bongino's "Unfiltered" this Saturday will be "Lawrence Jones Cross Country," though that is unlikely to be permanent and Fox News said that it would announce new program scheduling within the next few weeks.

It may prove difficult for the network to find another program or star that can achieve the same success as Bongino had in his Saturday night primetime slot, in which he consistently ranked at the top of the ratings with an average of 1.3 million viewers, including 134,000 in the key demographic of adults age 25-54.

"We were the number one show 90 percent of the time. We had a great team," Bongino, who thanked many of his now-former teammates by name, said.

"'You're going to read a thousand left-wing articles about some nonsense, and I'm guaranteeing you on my reputation, it is all made up. It's a simple contract thing, and that's it. It is no more complicated than that," he added.

"The timing's not great"

Mediaite reported that Bongino acknowledged at one point that "the timing’s not great" in terms of his sharing the news of his departure in relation to the recent settlement of a major lawsuit against his former employer.

It was revealed this week that Fox News had agreed to pay $787.5 million to Dominion Voting Systems to settle that company's defamation lawsuit against the network over the disputed or debunked conspiratorial claims of rigged voting machines during the 2020 election.

That settlement, per the Daily Mail, allowed Fox News to avoid proceeding with a trial that would have been highly publicized and could have resulted in some of the network's top stars and executives being compelled to testify under oath about potentially damaging and embarrassing things.