Megyn Kelly Is Ousted From ‘Today’ Show After Blackface Comments
(Bloomberg) -- Megyn Kelly’s “Today” show run on NBC is officially over.
The network said the anchor won’t return to the program following racially insensitive remarks she made on the air this week. The 9 a.m. slot that Kelly filled will be hosted by other “Today” show personalities, the Comcast Corp.-owned property said in a statement Friday.
Her lawyer, Bryan Freedman, said Friday that she remains an employee of NBC and “discussions about next steps are continuing.”
At issue in the negotiations is whether Kelly is entitled to the remainder of her contract, which was reported to be worth $69 million in total over three years.
Kelly’s ouster followed a segment about political correctness and Halloween costumes, when she questioned why wearing blackface was unacceptable. The remarks triggered outrage at NBC and beyond, prompting her to apologize on the air.
The former star from Fox News had a short, rocky stretch at NBC. Her show drew tepid ratings, and she at times rankled guests on her program.
After her apology Wednesday, the 47-year-old abruptly disappeared from the show. NBC aired reruns of her program on Thursday and Friday. The absence kicked off a swirl of speculation about her future at the network.
Kelly was hired by the network less than two years ago in a bet that a more combative persona built at Fox News could be softened for the mainstream audience at the 66-year-old “Today” show.
A former local news reporter and lawyer, Kelly elevated her profile during the 2016 presidential election when she squared off against Donald Trump and his surrogates, such as Newt Gingrich. On occasion, she outperformed fellow former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly in the ratings, and she had been seen as key to helping the network attract younger viewers.
Kelly had been at Fox News since 2004, starting as a contributor and reporter before winning her own show. Fox moved her into prime time in 2013, slotting her between the network’s two biggest stars: O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. Her tough questions for conservative politicians showed a desire to be less partisan than fellow prime-time hosts.
But she had a bumpy road once she reached NBC. In one incident, Kelly offended guest Jane Fonda by asking about plastic surgery. Along the way, she struggled to find a consistent audience.
Kelly was contrite on Wednesday when she offered her apology.
“I’ve never been a ‘PC’ kind of person, but I understand that we do need to be more sensitive in this day and age,” she said.
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