In the aftermath of her unfortunate and offensive remarks on blackface, NBC’s Megyn Kelly has come under intense fire at the network. The controversy was covered by both NBC Nightly News and the Today Show, with Kelly receiving harsh criticism from her colleagues Al Roker and Craig Melvin.
It would now appear that the flap over her racist comments is giving NBC all the cover they need to ax Megyn Kelly Today and assign their expensive star to a new (and less visible) role.
Multiple outlets are reporting tonight that Kelly is in negotiations to end her 9 AM Today broadcast. Both The Hollywood Reporter and CNN’s Brian Stelter report that sources say that Kelly’s program is ending. While THR has a source that says the morning show will be no more by the end of the season, Stelter reports that negotiations “about the end date and other details are still underway.”
While the blackface controversy has caused anger and resentment within the network, it also seems like this could just be the straw that broke the camel’s back when it comes to Kelly — who inked a 3-year mega-deal with the network in early 2017 — and her morning program, which she seems ill-suited for.
The Daily Beast reported that NBC News Chairman Andy Lack tore into Kelly at a staff town hall meeting, saying there’s “no other way to put this, but I condemn those remarks.” He added, “There is no place on our air or in this workplace for them. Very unfortunate.”
It is pretty clear that Lack approved the in-house condemnation from Melvin and Roker this morning and last night’s Nightly News segment. One source told the Beast that Lack used the blackface flap against her as he’s been looking to take revenge on Kelly and “punish her.” Besides Lack being supposedly upset about her #MeToo coverage as NBC has come under fire over sexual misconduct issues and passing on Ronan Farrow’s Weinstein reporting, the NBC chief also could be seeing a way to get out from Kelly’s middling ratings in her morning slot.
With more than a year left on her contract, what will Kelly’s role be if her show ends soon? Per THR, Kelly has expressed a desire to cover more hard news and politics, so a correspondent spot could be in the offing. Her short-lived Sunday news magazine was panned by critics and viewers alike, and her interviews with Alex Jones and Vladimir Putin were harshly criticized. So it would seem that a return to Sunday nights may not be in the books.
Meanwhile, in a quickly shifting situation, it was first reported that Kelly had been dropped by her agency CAA, only for the story to change that she was the one who actually fired CAA and hired UTA. UTA, however, decided Kelly was too toxic for them and pulled out, saying that “given the circumstances it became impossible to represent Megyn Kelly.”
And that’s not all! She’s also not expected to appear on her show Thursday morning as a previously taped broadcast will be aired instead.