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

  • Blood Oath

    MBC Studios to Launch Arabic TV Series 'Blood Oath,' Written by Britain's Tony Jordan

    MBC Studios, the Saudi-owned production unit of top Middle Eastern free-to-air satellite network MBC Group is set to launch “Blood Oath,” an Arabic crime series written by Britain’s Tony Jordan (“EastEnders,” “Life on Mars”). The announcement comes as Dubai-based MBC Studios, set up in 2018 and headed by former president of NBCUniversal International Peter Smith, is [...]

  • Tony Hall BBC Director General

    BBC Director-General Tony Hall to Step Down

    Tony Hall will step down as the Director-General this summer. “Tony Hall is an inspirational creative leader, within the UK and around the globe, and the BBC has been lucky to have him as our Director-General for the last seven years,” the Chairman of the BBC, Sir David Clementi, said in a statement. “Tony has [...]

  • Beartown - Björnstad

    HBO’s 'Beartown' Among 50 Nordic Sneak Peeks at Göteborg’s TV Drama Vision

    For the first time ever, a record number of 13 talent scouts -including U.S. reps from Wiip, CAA, Gersh- will set foot at Göteborg’s sold-out Nordic TV Drama Vision (Jan.29-30), where around 50 series in progress and in development will play to 420 industry delegates. “This is the first time ever we have such a [...]

  • BBC ITV BritBox Streaming

    BritBox U.K. Taps Will Harrison as Managing Director

    Streamer BritBox has appointed Will Harrison as managing director for the U.K. Harrison comes to the service from media investment group Ingenious Media, where he was managing director. An industry veteran, he has had previous stints at Warner Bros., HBO, Disney, A+E Television and Turner Broadcasting. His duties will include profit and loss responsibility, staff [...]

  • "La casa de papel" "Money Heist"

    U.S., Mexico Are Top Destinations for Spanish TV Dramas

    Having conquered the global SVOD market with large hits such as “La casa de papel” (“Money Heist”) and “Elite,” Spanish dramas continued gaining ground in 2019. The international presence of Spanish fiction was driven by period dramas and thrillers, as its most demanded TV genres. By territories, Mexico and the U.S. were the top destinies [...]

  • Two Rivers Media Buys Out Parent

    Two Rivers Media Buys Out Parent Kew Media Group's Stake In Business

    Two Rivers Media has bought out parent group Kew Media Group’s minority stake in the business. Formed by former STV Productions head Alan Clements in January 2019, the production outfit behind Channel 5’s recent “Susan Hill’s Ghost Story” launched with the backing of Kew, Noble Grossart Investments and Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund. Noble Grossart [...]

  • The New York Times Building NYC

    The New York Times' Made-for-TV Endorsement Missed the Mark (Column)

    At some point during the New York Times’s special endorsement episode of its branded series “The Weekly,” the paper’s editorial board muses on the manner in which Donald Trump has changed how we envision what a potential president could look like. After the brief and energetic snippet we’re shown of a visit from candidate Andrew [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content