UPDATE, 1:40 PM: “There has been rampant speculation surrounding my departure from Fox that I am not addressing at this time…I will say it has been an honor and privilege to work for Roger Ailes the past 20 years and I wish nothing but the best for him and the great people at Fox News,” FNC’s ousted EVP Corp Communications Brian Lewis told TVNewser this afternoon. Other than that, he had nothing to say, except to single out one press report about his exit as “particularly ludicrous” without elaborating, the site reported. Lewis’s exit has been linked to Gabriel Sherman’s upcoming book on Ailes and Fox News by various sources, including Politico and Matt Drudge. Sherman’s take on Lewis’s ouster, for New York Magazine, suggests Ailes had begun leaning more heavily on people other than Lewis for strategic advice. Sherman said that, in April of ’12, Lewis told him he’d been “overruled” a few days after the Fox News mole story broke in Gawker, as to how the network should react; Lewis told him FNC planned to sue Gawker and might try to have the mole arrested, Sherman wrote. Sherman also reported Lewis called Bill O’Reilly a “chucklehead,” in reference to a photo Gawker unearthed during its Gawker/mole period.

PREVIOUS: “Financial Irregularities” — that’s the intriguing reason given by Fox News Channel, which said today it terminated its EVP Corporate Communications and longtime Roger Ailes confidante Brian Lewis last month. “After an extensive internal investigation of Brian Lewis’ conduct by Fox News, it was determined that he should be terminated for cause”, the network said in a statement, citing also “multiple, material and significant breaches of his employment contract”. Fox News said Lewis was “terminated for cause” on July 25, but word of his departure leaked out today. The news surprised members of the media who cover Fox News Channel for a living; Lewis was considered an important player  at FNC in his capacity as corporate communications chief and senior adviser to CEO Ailes, with whom he’d also worked at the short-lived NBC cable network America’s Talking, before Ailes was hired to launch FNC in ’96. Lewis was one of Ailes’ first FNC hires and, when Ailes added oversigh tof the Fox TV stations to his resume, Lewis also gained additional responsibilities on that front, as well as 20th TV.

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