Dan Bongino, a former Secret Service agent and New York City cop turned conservative talk show host, told his radio listeners Thursday he is leaving Fox News where he had a weekly TV show since June 2021.
Bongino, 48, said his departure is amicable. It comes after Bongino and Fox failed to agree on a contract extension. Bongino‘s Fox News show “Unfiltered” aired on Saturday nights and was watched by an average of 1.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
“I want you to know it’s not some big conspiracy, I promise you,” Bongino told his listeners. “There’s no acrimony. This wasn’t some, like, WWE brawl that happened. We just couldn’t come to terms on an extension. And that’s really it.”
Bongino also hosts a daily radio program syndicated by Westwood One, which has a video simulcast on Fox News Media‘s streaming service Fox Nation, an arrangement that also is ending. The radio program will continue to air on more than 300 stations across the country.
Bongino is the first on-air personality to depart Fox News since the Rupert Murdoch-owned network settled a defamation lawsuit filed by Dominion Voting Systems for $787.5 million. Dominion sued Fox News over false statements made about the company in its reporting on 2020 election fraud allegations pushed by former President Donald Trump.
While Bongino is a staunch Trump supporter and has questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election, he did not come up in the suit or the evidence gathered for the case. His show began a few months after the untrue statements aired on the network.
While Fox News is expected to make some personnel changes in the aftermath of the Dominion lawsuit, a person inside the network familiar with the negotiations said Bongino’s exit is strictly about money.
Bongino also stressed on his radio show that the decision was unrelated to any larger issues facing the company.
“You’re going to read 1,000 left-wing articles about some nonsense, and I’m guaranteeing you on my reputation, it is all made up,” Bongino said. “It’s a simple contract thing, and that’s it. It is no more complicated than that. Unfortunately, timing’s not great. I get that.”
Bongino was given an opportunity to host a final episode to say goodbye to viewers but passed. His last program aired Saturday. He thanked Fox News management for giving him his start as a media personality.
Bongino has become an influential conservative pundit since he started appearing on Fox News. While the network never had any public problems with him, he was banned from YouTube after violating the platform’s policy regarding misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
Bongino also threatened to quit his Westwood One radio program when parent company Cumulus Media issued a vaccine mandate to its employees during the pandemic.
Bongino called vaccine mandates “immoral,” although he himself has been vaccinated. He has battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma.