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Megyn Kelly, NBC Spar Over Restrictions in Exit Talks

Megyn Kelly and NBCUniversal executives don’t agree on much these days, but representatives for both sides are likely to have the same opinion on their current separation talks: They aren’t over yet.

The anchor and the media company, working out an exit for Kelly after the cancellation of her morning program, are said to be at odds over the structure of non-disclosure and non-compete stipulations that could restrict Kelly after she leaves, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Kelly could not be reached for immediate comment. NBC News declined to comment. Kelly is represented by California attorney Bryan Freedman. In a statement released late last week, the attorney said Kelly remained an NBCUniversal employee and that the two sides were working out next steps.

These types of discussions are common in separation negotiations. Sticking points in the current talks, which remain fluid, concern the length of time Kelly could not work elsewhere, and what she might or might not be able to say about her soon-to-be former employer, this person said.

High-end contracts for media talent tend to contain maps for how to proceed in case of disagreements, said James G. Sammataro, a partner at the Stroock law firm who often represents TV and radio stations in disputes with on-air personnel. The contract may even have a work-out formula that lays out how much Kelly would get paid in case of separation, he said. Typical contracts might use length of employment term to determine how much of the monies remaining to be paid are given out, he added.

NBC canceled Kelly’s morning program, “Megyn Kelly Today,” late last week in the wake of last Tuesday’s broadcast during which Kelly led a discussion about Halloween costumes and blackface that spurred immediate offense. NBC News executives had been in loose talks to find her a new role, one that would involve her in hard news stories rather than the lighter fare of her morning program, but those conversations were derailed. The discussion also drew criticism from NBC News colleagues including Al Roker and Craig Melvin.

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