×

Megyn Kelly Prepares for Aggressive NBC Legal Fight Amid Blackface Controversy

Megyn Kelly has beefed up her team by hiring a top Hollywood litigator amidst her blackface controversy, signaling that the anchor is ready to put up an aggressive fight as she sorts out her likely exit plan with NBC.

Kelly is now represented by Bryan Freedman, one of the founding partners of the Los Angeles-based law firm Freedman & Taitelman, Variety has confirmed. Kelly’s new attorney is set to meet with NBC executives as early as Friday to “determine next steps,” insiders say.

Neither Kelly’s personal representative nor attorney were immediately available for comment on the anchor’s current status at NBC.

The appointment of Kelly’s attorney comes as the anchor has parted ways with her agency, CAA. A person familiar with the matter tells Variety that Kelly departed CAA because the agency also represents NBC News president Noah Oppenheim.

In recent months, prior to the recent controversy, tensions have been growing between Kelly and NBC News management. Sources with knowledge of the situation say that NBC News chairman Andy Lack disapproved of Kelly aggressively covering stories about sexual harassment on her show, particularly related to NBC and disgraced anchor Matt Lauer, who was fired last November.

“After Andy Lack turned on her yesterday, she decided she needed a non-conflicting agency because of Noah,” says an insider with knowledge of Kelly’s thinking, referring to NBC News dispatching their anchors to extensively cover Kelly’s blackface remarks across their broadcasts.

NBC News declined to comment.

Following Kelly’s controversial comments about dressing up in blackface on Halloween, the broadcaster apologized to her staff and on-air the next day, but her apology did not settle down the intense backlash online. NBC covered the controversy at length on “Today” and “NBC Nightly News.”

Kelly hired Freedman late Wednesday night. However, the change in her team was in effect before her blackface comments on Tuesday’s “Megyn Kelly Today,” signaling that Kelly was eyeing a change in her role at NBC News before the scandal erupted. After she made the decision not to be represented by CAA, an insider explained that Kelly had been in talks with UTA prior to the blackface controversy. After the backlash, UTA decided not to represent her. Another insider says UTA suggested Kelly should be represented by Freedman, as a lawyer would better fit her needs rather than an agent.

Freedman is a talent-side litigator, who previously represented UTA in the dispute over the controversial move of 13 CAA agents to the firm. While she was at Fox News, Kelly was repped by the UTA-owned N.S. Bienstock agency before signing with CAA ahead of her multi-million dollar NBC News deal in 2017.

At press time, NBC News declined to comment on the status of Kelly’s employment at the company.

RELATED VIDEO: 

More TV

  • Winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song

    Netherlands' Duncan Laurence Wins 2019 Eurovision Song Contest

    Madonna’s controversial performance may have grabbed the headlines, but Duncan Laurence won the nearly four-hour-long 2019 Eurovision Song Contest for the Netherlands with the song “Arcade,” which he cowrote with Joel Sjöö and Wouter Hardy. Laurence won a total of 492 points from the expert juries and televoters in a contest that was touch and [...]

  • 'SNL' Cold Open Has Alec Baldwin's

    'SNL' Cold Open Has Alec Baldwin's Trump Rocking Out to Queen

    The cold open for the season finale of “Saturday Night Live” saw the Trump administration taking some liberties with a rock classic. Alec Baldwin returned as President Donald Trump, letting America know that he is going to be taking it easy now that summer is nearly here. He then said he was going to do [...]

  • Great Point Invests in U.K. Indie

    Great Point Invests in U.K. Indie Producer Seven Seas (EXCLUSIVE)

    U.K.-based Great Point has bought into Seven Seas Films, the British indie producer that recently teamed with BBC Studios for a drama series about the final months of Marilyn Monroe. Great Point has a new “enterprise investment scheme” fund, Great Point Ventures, and is primed to invest in several more film and TV producers in [...]

  • Outlander Season 4 Finale

    What CBS' Pursuit of Starz Means for CBS, Lionsgate

    CBS’ effort to buy pay TV service Starz from Lionsgate seems on the surface to be a head scratcher. CBS has told Wall Street for years that it has prospered because it brings only two must-have services to the table in negotiations with MVPDs, allowing the Eye to drive a hard bargain. Why would CBS [...]

  • Doha Film Institute Steps Up Documentaries

    Doha Film Institute Steps Up Documentaries and TV Series Grants

    The Doha Film Institute, which is at Cannes as a co-financier of Elia Suleiman’s competition entry “It Must Be Heaven,” has announced the 37 projects receiving its Spring Grants, roughly half of them to be directed by women. The latest batch of mostly Arabic fare set to tap into support from the DFI, a key [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content