illustration Patrick Hoelck
EXCLUSIVE: Megyn Kelly is OUT at NBC just 48 hours after defending blackface as she and the network fight over whether she will be paid out her $69M contract in full
- Sources confirm to DailyMail.com that Kelly will not return to NBC airwaves
- Her show aired a repeat on Thursday and will also be a repeat on Friday after she defended blackface on Tuesday’s show and apologized Wednesday on air
- In the past 24 hours, she has parted ways with CAA agents, been rejected by agents at UTA and hired a lawyer who specializes in gender-bias contract cases
- Sources tell DailyMail.com there are tentative conversations about her returning to Fox News, where she was not popular with her colleagues when she left
- A Fox News spokesperson responded to this by stating: ‘We are extremely happy with our entire line-up’
- Kelly is set to be paid out her entire $69 million contract unless the network can prove she violated a clause in some way
- Page Six is reporting that Kelly has asked that Ronan Farrow be present when she and her attorney meet with NBC execs .
Multiple sources have confirmed to DailyMail.com that Megyn Kelly is out at NBC.
This move comes just 48 hours after the embattled host made remarks in which she defended blackface on Today.
Kelly tried to deal with the scandal by delivering a tearful apology on-air and welcoming two black panelists to discuss the fraught and horrifying history of the practice, but it did no good.
‘Megyn Kelly is done. She is not ever coming back,’ said an NBC executive with knowledge of the situation.‘We are just working out the timing of the announcement but mark my word – she is gone and will never be seen on NBC live again.’
The source then added: ‘Here’s the worst part – her deal is a non-break deal – so she walks away with all that money. It’s disgusting and heads should roll here because of it.’
A spokesperson for NBC declined to comment at this time.
The only thing remaining is for Kelly’s lawyers to meet with NBC executives to finalize an exit package.
Page Six is reporting that Kelly is now asking that Ronan Farrow be present for that meeting, in a move that likely relates to the former NBC correspondent’s claims that the network killed his Harvey Weinstein expose.
Kelly had previously called on NBC to investigate why the story was shelved, which is why Farrow took his expose to The New Yorker.
Scroll down for videoMegyn Kelly is withstanding another scandal and all eyes are on the embattled TV personality. On Wednesday as she was headed home from the studio.
And it looks like Kelly could be heading for a homecoming of sorts.
A network news insider tells DailyMail.com that there are tentative conversations underway about Kelly returning to Fox News or its new online venture Fox Nation, whose viewers despise what they perceive as ‘political correctness’ and would likely welcome her back with open arms.
Kelly was not particularly popular when she left the network among the staff, but many of her biggest detractors have since left Fox News.
A Fox News spokesperson responded to this by stating: ‘We are extremely happy with our entire line-up.’
Another NBC source with knowledge of the staff meeting that took place on Thursday said that the staff was told Monday’s show would be live, but with the host TBD.
The staff got a chance to speak with human resources on Wednesday, and voice their concerns about the host of their show.
An NBC insider tells DailyMail.com that employees on the show made it very clear that they were ‘disgusted’ by Kelly’s blackface comments and ‘didn’t like her personally.’
Staffers were also informed by NBC that they were members of the Today team at a time when there jobs appeared to be on the line.
‘Given the circumstances, Megyn Kelly Today will be on tape the rest of the week,’ said an NBC spokesperson.
A source at the network had stated that it seemed inevitable that Kelly would be phased out just like Billy Bush, with the host being kept off the air on Thursday and Friday before the network announces the show.
Kelly has made few friends and many enemies during her time on Today, angering a number of veteran employees with her segments about sexual misconduct allegations against Matt Lauer and Tom Brokaw.
Kelly brought in an almost entirely new staff when she began on Today, including her own publicists and producers as well as a dedicated crew, when she started at the 9am hour in her brand new $10 million studio.
Prior to that, the third hour was filmed in the same studio as the first two hours of the Today show, requiring little additional crew.
Should the show return to that format, it would likely be difficult to keep all of the Megyn Kelly Today staff employed at the network, but NBC told staffers not to worry on Wednesday according to one person who was present at the meeting.
It is not just employees who have grown tired of Kelly either, with one major executive also voicing his frustration with the embattled host on Wednesday.
‘There is no other way to put this, but I condemn those remarks,’ said Lack.
‘There is no place on our air or in this workplace for them. Very unfortunate.’
He went on to state: ‘The team did an excellent job covering it properly. I thought Craig [Melvin] and Al [Roker] brought a thoughtfulness and a context to it that was sorely missing, and they really did this company and our audience a real public service.’
Kelly looks to be preparing for battle, having hired a high-profile litigator on Wednesday at almost the exact same time that she was dropped by her talent agency, CAA.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed late Wednesday that Kelly had obtained the services of Bryan Freedman, who earlier this year filed a gender bias claim against Paramount following the termination of executive Amy Powell.
That case was settled in September for an undisclosed sum.
The news of Kelly’s new legal representation came on the heels of DailyMail.com breaking the story that Kelly was preparing to exit the network.
Multiple sources at multiple networks told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that members of Kelly’s team had been in contact about finding a new home for the Today host.
Those networks were not biting though, with one executive at ABC saying: ‘We wouldn’t hire her in a million years. She’s toxic and her personal brand is finished.’
Homecoming: Sources tell DailyMail.com there are tentative conversations about her returning to Fox News(l to r: Kelly’s husband Doug Brunt in background, Katie Couric, Kelly, Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch, Martha Stewart and Jack Dorsey)
History lesson: ‘The fact is, while she apologized to the staff, she owes a bigger apology to folks of color around the country,’ said Al Roker (right with Craig Melvin on left), who Kelly replaced at 9am on Today
An insider at CAA – the agency that represented Kelly – confirmed that the calls to other networks and news organizations were indeed taking place, but claimed that it was all standard practice.
‘There have been some preliminary discussions, but it is normal for agents to be aware of what’s out there, but nothing significant yet,’ said the insider.
That individual then added: ‘I wouldn’t make too much of it.’
When asked for comment, Kelly’s publicist said that reports of any person on Kelly’s team reaching out to other networks were ‘absolutely false.’
At the same, an NBC executive told DailyMail.com that Kelly will not be missed at the network.
‘That hour used to be a ratings hit with Al Roker and Tamron Hall and it was relatively inexpensive to produce,’ said the executive.
‘Now viewers get to witness the greatest example of white privilege on television. She defended blackface. I mean how is this acceptable in any way? She needs to go.’
That same executive was also critical of the decision to hire Kelly, questioning why Andy Lack and Noah Oppenheim had not already gotten rid of the $69 million woman.
‘Andy and Noah need to own this mistake and fire her. There shouldn’t be a place for someone with these views to remain on NBC News,’ said that executive.
‘Andy and Noah both should be held accountable too. They gave her the $69 million and all she has delivered is scandal after scandal. Add production costs and they are responsible for a $100 million dollar s*** show at 9 am every morning.’
Most employees will be glad that the Kelly era is ending, however, having previously accused her of tarnishing the network’s legacy.
‘Her limited tenure here has been an embarrassing joke – offends Jane Fonda, kisses Alex Jones’ a**, defends blackface. I mean what is next?’ asked one.
And a veteran network correspondent said: ‘It’s time NBC transferred Megyn from the News Division to Bravo. She’d fit in perfectly on the Real Housewives of New York as all she seems capable of doing is creating drama and controversy.’
That correspondent then got serious, noting that ‘this is the network that created Barbara Walters, Tim Russert, Maria Shriver and Katie Couric.’
‘How the hell did it come to Megyn Kelly? I can’t understand how Steve Burke hasn’t called and handed Andy Lack his marching orders for overseeing this expensive disgrace,’ said the correspondent.
‘How must our African American colleagues feel? It’s an absolute disgrace and NBC News shouldn’t stand for it. Clearly, they do as she’ll be on the air again tomorrow.’
HIGHS AND MANY LOWS: MEGYN KELLY’S JOURNEY AT NBC
October 27, 2016: The Wall Street Journal reveals details of the contract negotiations between Megyn Kelly and Fox News, with the host said to want an increase in her salary from $15 million to $20 million. The paper, which is owned by Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch, quotes the octogenarian in the story, who states: ‘[W]e have a deep bench of talent, many of whom would give their right arm for that spot.’
November 1, 2016: The Kelly File tops Bill O’Reilly’s O’Reilly Factor and every other news show on cable in the key demo for the month of October.
November 15, 2016: Kelly details the alleged sexual harassment she endured at the hands of Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, who she claims tried to kiss her and made her twirl during their early encounters. That same day, Bill O’Reilly goes on CBS to criticize Kelly for making Fox News look bad.
November 16, 2016: Kelly returns fire at O’Reilly while promoting her memoir Settle for More on CBS This Morning, saying Ailes made the network look bad with his alleged actions. She also revealed that she had the full support of Rupert and his sons Lachlan and James when she decided to reveal Ailes’ alleged misconduct in her book.
December 1, 2016: It is revealed that CNN has had talks with Kelly about a possible position at the network.
December 9, 2016: It is revealed that Kelly has met with ABC and NBC about possible positions.
January 3, 2017: Megyn Kelly announces she is leaving Fox News, having turned down a four-year contract that would have paid the host $100 million. Her new job will be at NBC where there has been a unique position created for the Fox News alum.
January 5, 2017: Fox News announces that Tucker Carlson will take over for Kelly in the 8 pm time slot.
January 7, 2017: The final episode of The Kelly File airs on Fox News. Kelly is forced to remain off the air until July as per her Fox News contract.
February 1, 2017: Tamron Hall walks out and refuses to renew her contract with NBC after she and Al Roker are told they are being moved out of the 9 am hour despite the fact that the show was on a seven-week run as the top-rated morning show in its hour, best its main rival Live With Kelly.
February 4, 2017: DailyMail.com reveals that Kelly will be given her own hour on Today, though at that time it is not yet known whether it was air at 9 am or 10 am.
March 9, 2017: Fox News lets Megyn kelly out of her contract early, though the two sides still spend a few days ironing out the specifics of Kelly’s exit from the network.
April 21, 2017: Steve Bannon reveals that he told Roger Ailes Kelly was ‘the devil, and she will turn on you’
April 28, 2017: DailyMail.com reveals that Kelly is in Los Angeles interviewing the Kardashians for her first NBC story.
May 1, 2017: Kelly shares a photo of her first day working out of 30 Rock, the headquarters of NBC.
May 8, 2017: Kelly and Hoda Kotb pose together in a photo after the pair run into one another at 30 Rock.
June 1, 2017: Kelly makes her NBC debut on Today while in Russia, ahead of her interview with Vladimir Putin.
June 4, 2017: The first episode of Megyn Kelly Tonight airs with the host drawing in an impressive 6.1 million viewers as she interviews Putin. The show still loses to a repeat of 60 Minutes.
June 11, 2017: Kelly loses half her audience, and places behind repeats of both 60 Minutes and America’s Funniest Home Videos, despite both networks airing repeats.
June 13, 2017: Advertisers pull out of Kelly’s new magazine after she welcomes Alex Jones for an interview, just before she is set to host a gala for the parents of Sandy Hook victims. Jones has argued many times that the shooting was fake and the parent’s actors.
September 20, 2017: Kelly tells Ellen DeGeneres she did not enjoy the amount of political coverage she eventually had to do as the host of The Kelly File and blamed President Trump for her decision to exit. ‘It wasn’t until I got my job in primetime that the coverage became all political, and I was never a political person,’ explained Kelly.’I wasn’t raised in a political household, and it became clear to me that it just wasn’t what I wanted to do.’
September 25, 2017: Megyn Kelly Today premieres at 9 am on NBC with the cast of Will & Grace welcomed as the first guests.
September 26, 2017: Will & Grace star Debra Messing says she regrets going on the show, stating: ‘Honestly I didn’t know it was MK until that morning. The itinerary just said Today Show appearance. Regret going on. Dismayed by her comments.’
September 27, 2017: Kelly is scolded by Jane Fonda live on-air after asking about the actress’ plastic surgery while she is promoting her new film. ‘Wew really want to talk about that now?’ asks Fonda.
October 2017: The program closes out the first full week of the month averaging 2.21 million total viewers, good for a 1.8 rating overall and 0.5 in the adults 25 – 54 demo, according to Nielsen numbers. That is 24 percent behind Roker and Hall the previous year.
October 9, 2017: Kelly welcomes Harvey Weinstein victim Lauren Sivan, who alleged the mogul masturbated in front of her at a restaurant. It is her first #MeToo interview.
November 27, 2017: NBC first Matt lauer for sexual misconduct.
December 6, 2017: Kelly is named one of Time’s People of the Year for exposing sexual misconduct at Fox News and supporting victims.
December 18, 2017: Kelly welcomes one of Lauer’s accusers on the show who claims she and Lauer had a sexual relationship when she was an intern at 30 Rock. Network bosses are annoyed.
January 22, 2018: Kelly goes after ‘Hanoi’ Jane Fonda four months after he appearance , using language she had previously used while criticizing the actress on Fox News. Network execs are caught off-guard by the move.
January 25, 2018: DailyMail.com reports that Kelly’s colleagues are ‘horrified’ that she will be joining them to cover the State of the Union address. ‘No one knows what to talk with her about at the table for the coverage,’ says an NBC source.
February 2018: It is revealed that Kelly will be the anchor staying back at NBC during the Olympics while her today colleagues go to South Korea.
April 25, 2018: A report emerges that NBC is spending $30 million each year on Kelly’s studio and costs on top of her salary. On that same day Hall snapos a selfie of herself driving by the NBC studios.
May 10, 2018: Kelly tells the women who are signing a letter declaring that Tom Brokaw is not capable of sexual harassment or assault to be careful, stating: ‘You don’t know what you don’t know.’ This also reportedly annoys executives at NBC.
September 25, 2018: Kelly celebrates one year at the network, having failed to best the weekly ratings of her predecessors even once.
October 23, 2018: Kelly defends the practice of blackface during a panel on Halloween costumes featuring four white participants.
October 24, 2018: Kelly issues a tearful apology for her comments.