×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Megyn Kelly, NBC News Near $30 Million Contract Settlement

Megyn Kelly and NBC News are said to be close to a $30 million settlement deal that will pay out the full value of the time remaining on her three-year contract.

News that the formal parting of Kelly and NBC is getting closer was previously reported Tuesday by the New York Post. A person familiar with the situation said the remaining haggling was not about money but the specifics of the non-compete clause and non-disclosure agreements for which NBC has pushed. The talks are not expected to conclude until next week because of Thursday’s Thanksgiving holiday.

Reps for NBCUniversal, NBC News and Kelly declined comment.

Kelly’s imminent exit is the last stage of a misplaced bet by NBC News chairman Andrew Lack, who wagered big money on luring the former Fox News star to a three-year deal in early 2017.

Kelly was removed nearly a month ago as host of the “Megyn Kelly Today” 9 a.m. hour of NBC News’ lucrative “Today” franchise after she defended the use of blackface for Halloween costumes on air.

Before the blackface segment, Kelly and NBC News executives had been in talks to find her a new role beyond the ratings-challenged morning show, one that would involve her in hard news stories. Those conversations were derailed, however, after Kelly opened her Oct. 23 broadcast with a discussion of Halloween costumes and her defense of the use of blackface that drew criticism not only on social media, but also from NBC News colleagues including Al Roker and Craig Melvin.

The uproar made keeping Kelly on the air untenable for NBC. And it was the final nail in the coffin in the already-soured relationship between Kelly, Lack and a number of her NBC News colleagues.

Kelly got off to a rocky start at NBC News when she launched the poorly received newsmagazine “Sunday With Megyn Kelly” early on in her tenure. She shifted her focus to the 9 a.m. hour in September 2017. Her first few weeks on the air were choppy as she had uncomfortable on-air exchanges with guests including Jane Fonda and the cast of “Will & Grace.”

After the #MeToo movement began to gain steam, Kelly found a niche in telling the stories of victims of harassment and sexual abuse. But she never rebounded from the ratings declines that her show delivered compared to the previous “Today” host rotation.

Kelly’s failure to adapt to NBC News environs after making a name for herself as a tough interviewer on Fox News reflects the balkanized nature of the TV news landscape these days. Kelly’s Fox News audience never followed her to daytime TV. NBC News has been criticized for laying out an estimated $23 million a year for a news star at a time when newsgathering resources are being stretched thin amid the spike in political and national news and the growing number of platforms that need to be served.

This isn’t the first time NBCU made a big talent bet and missed a reward. The company lured Josh Elliott from ABC’s “Good Morning America” to NBC Sports in 2014, but the alliance proved ill-fated. Elliott would leave the company without finding a particular niche and worked for CBS News for a period of time afterwards.

Reports of a $30 million deal for Kelly to depart are also drawing outrage in social media and in journalism circles.

More TV

  • NEW YORK, NY – JUNE, 24:

    LGBTQ Stars Honored at Variety’s Power of Pride Celebration

    New York City felt the full power of pride on Monday, as Variety celebrated its inaugural issue devoted to the annual recognition of LGBTQ people worldwide. At an intimate gathering at lower east side Manhattan hotel The Orchid, rooftop bar Mr. Purple hosted Variety’s cover stars and luminaries for cocktails and the unveiling of the [...]

  • WWE

    WWE and PP Sports Extend China Partnership

    WWE and PP Sports have signed a new multi-year agreement that will keep WWE programming airing live in Mandarin in China. In the past three years of the partnership, PP Sports has delivered more than 300 episodes of WWE programming. PP Sports will offer, “Raw,” “Smackdown, and the WWE Network as a subscription VOD service [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on Taylor Swift's 'Calm Down' Backlash

    When Taylor Swift released her “You Need to Calm Down” music video, it seemed like every member of the LGBTQ in Hollywood was included — except for Billy Eichner. “I’m still not gay enough for Taylor Swift — or too gay — I don’t know what it is,” Eichner joked at Variety’s Power of Pride [...]

  • HIGHWIRE LIVE IN TIMES SQUARE WITH

    TV News Roundup: 'Highwire Live in Times Square' Tops Sunday Night Ratings

    In today’s TV news roundup, ABC’s “Highwire Live in Times Square” tops Sunday night ratings, and “Total Bellas” has been renewed for a fifth season. DATES FX will air the special event “Peabody Presents: Stories of the Year” on July 7. The program will showcase the issues honored at the 78th Annual Peabody Awards Ceremony [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Scream' Series Moves From MTV to VH1 for July Debut

    The long-gestating third season of the “Scream” series is finally debuting–but not on its original network. Variety has confirmed that the series will air on VH1 instead of MTV as originally planned. “Scream” will debut on VH1 on July 8 and air two one-hour episodes back-to-back for three straight nights. The third season of the [...]

  • Jussie Smollett

    Video of Jussie Smollett With Rope Around His Neck Released by Chicago Police

    The Chicago Police Department released new surveillance footage and files in regards to the Jussie Smollett hoax case on Monday, including one that shows the “Empire” actor shortly after the alleged attack. In one of the videos, police body-cam footage shows authorities entering Smollett’s Chicago apartment, led by his manager, Frank Gatson. Smollett is found [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content