NBC News Backs ‘Megyn Kelly Today’ Producers After Employee Alleges Behavior Concerns

NBC News said it would stand by two senior producers of its “Megyn Kelly Today” after a writer on the program made allegations about the way they treated staffers on the program.

An email from Kevin Bleyer, said to be a temporary staffer on the NBC morning program, surfaced late Thursday detailing various ways he saw Jackie Levin and Christine Cataldi, the two top producers at “Megyn Kelly Today,” treat other employees assigned to the show. Among the claims are details of some tough language used to describe particular staffers. Bleyer was recently fired, according to a person familiar with the matter. DailyMail.com previously reported on the staffer’s allegations.

But NBC News dismissed the complaint. “Jackie and Christine are being attacked unfairly.  They are both excellent and experienced producers, and have the full support of everyone here,” NBC News said in a prepared statement. “They, and the team, are fully focused on continuing the show’s momentum as it continues to climb in the ratings.” “Megyn Kelly Today” has in recent weeks notched an average of 2.9 million viewers. The average audience for the 9 a.m. hour of “Today” in the 2016-2017 broadcast season was 2.8 million people.

The writer’s complaints did not make any allegations against Kelly.

The person familiar with the matter suggested the writer, who had a background in working on late-night comedy programming, was unprepared for the ebb-and-flow of morning TV, where staffers who often lack eight hours of sleep work and put on a daily program under unforgiving deadlines. Senior and junior staffers on many morning programs routinely confess the punishing schedule of the shows leaves them feeling tired and punchy.

The allegations suggest bullying, and surface at a time when NBC News is still working through the surprising ouster of Matt Lauer, the veteran “Today” co-host who, according to NBC News, was involved in what it called “inappropriate sexual behavior.” NBC News has a new team at the first two hours of “Today” – Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb – that is the first female co-anchor assemblage in the venerable program’s 66-year history. Earlier this week, NBC News said Don Nash, the executive producer of “Today,” would step down from his post, replaced during the show’s first two hours by Libby Leist, a veteran of the unit’s Washington bureau.

NBC News is in the midst of a review of how it handled allegations against Lauer, and has said it intends to bolster training among employees about appropriate behavior in the workplace. Among the things executives intended to improve was helping people feel comfortable with reporting inappropriate workplace interactions, according to a memo to employees sent late last year by NBC News Chairman Andy Lack. NBC News “must do a much better job of making people feel empowered to take that crucial first step of reporting bad behavior,” Lack said at the time.

 

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