Megyn Kelly Today cancelled as host negotiates exit

NEW YORK • Television host Megyn Kelly will not return to her 9am programme on NBC, the network said last Friday, as the beleaguered host remains in negotiations over a likely exit from the NBC airwaves.

Mr Noah Oppenheim, president of NBC News, delivered the news to the staff of Megyn Kelly Today shortly before the official announcement that the show had reached its end.

"Next week, the 9am hour will be hosted by other Today co-anchors," an NBC News spokesman said in a statement.

The cancellation came three days after Kelly suggested on the air that it was not inappropriate for white people to dress in blackface on Halloween.

An online outcry sprang up after her remarks and NBC News covered her on-air statements and their aftermath on NBC Nightly News and its morning franchise, the Today show.

Kelly's status at NBC is now the subject of high-stakes discussions between her lawyer, Los Angeles litigator Bryan Freedman, and the network's executives.

"Megyn remains an employee of NBC News and discussions about next steps are continuing," Mr Freedman said in a statement last Friday.

Kelly is in the middle of a three-year, US$69-million (S$95-million) contract. A negotiated departure could include a substantial payout.

Kelly joined NBC News last year after 12 years at the Fox News Channel. At her new network home, she has clashed with colleagues and management while earning middling ratings for her morning show.

Her incendiary remarks last Tuesday were part of a round-table discussion of how "the costume police are cracking down" on Halloween costumes, as she put it.

Several hours after the broadcast, she sent an apologetic e-mail to NBC staff members.

The e-mail was not enough to placate her fellow Today hosts Al Roker and Craig Melvin, who denounced her remarks on blackface costumes in the early hours of last Wednesday morning's broadcast.

At 9am that morning, Kelly went on the air with her future at the network in doubt. She apologised at length.

At a midday staff meeting on the same day, Mr Andrew Lack, chairman of NBC News, told employees that he condemned her comments and offered no praise for her attempts to apologise.

Reruns of Megyn Kelly Today aired in place of live broadcasts last Thursday and last Friday.

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2018, with the headline 'Megyn Kelly Today cancelled as host negotiates exit'. Print Edition | Subscribe