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Megyn Kelly Charts Return to Spotlight With Social-Media Venture

“Megyn Kelly Today” was cancelled by NBC about a year ago. But “The Megyn Kelly Show,” so to speak, continues.

The former star anchor from Fox News Channel and NBC took to Instagram Friday to unveil what appears to be a new social-media venture. She posted a seven-minute-plus interview with Ashley Bianco, a former ABC News and CBS News producer, who has been accused of leaking a video to conservative activist group Project Veritas of a visibly frustrated Amy Robach discussing how ABC News had not allowed her to air what was purported to be an in-depth interview with a victim of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Whether Kelly intends to launch a new career as an independent journalist and producer or is merely playing the role of digital provocateur could not be easily determined but the project would appear to be her first effort in setting up a new business. The video was branded with a stylized “MK” logo and dubbed “The Megyn Kelly Interview.”

“It wasn’t me. I’m not the whistleblower. I’m sorry to ABC, but the leaker is still inside,” Bianco said during the exchange. The former producer, who said she had been working at CBS News for just four days after leaving ABC News, acknowledged she had clipped a video of Robach’s remarks and put it in the ABC News system as part of her duties there. Her termination came as a surprise. “I begged. I pleaded. I didn’t know what I had done wrong,” she told Kelly. “I wasn’t even given the professional courtesy to defend myself.” ABC News and CBS News declined to comment.

Kelly has not been quiet since her departure from NBC. Her Twitter feed, followed by more than 2.4 million users, has for the past year been filled with content that would not be a bad fit with the morning program she was doing for the Peacock. There have been stinging rebukes of news coverage; pictures of cooking experiments gone awry; photos of a new family dog; and allusions to life with her husband and three children.

The moment would seem to be a fortuitous one. Kelly’s pop-culture profile has gotten a boost from trailers of the coming release of “Bombshell,” the Lionsgate movie in which Charlize Theron portrays Kelly during the Roger Ailes-era at Fox News Channel. The recent news cycle has been filled with the type of story for which Kelly has shown a predilection: the continuing rise of the #MeToo movement, during which victims of sexual harassment and assault have demanded fair treatment. The recent Ronan Farrow book, “Catch and Kill,” raised new allegations about how her former employer, NBC News handled the author’s reporting of claims made against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, and Kelly recently appeared on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News program to discuss some of that feud.

But it’s not entirely clear how much Kelly wants to focus on her time at NBC. Though her arrival at NBCUniversal in March of 2017 sparked much chatter, the company never found the right vehicle for her, and her October 2018 discussion about the use of blackface in Halloween costumes proved polarizing enough that she and NBCU quickly parted ways. According to two people with knowledge of the matter, Kelly continues to receive compensation from NBCUniversal as part of the exit agreement the two sides struck in early 2019. Her financial ties to the company are expected to end in April of 2020, these people said. She walked from the contract free to find employment with another company and with the balance of her three-year contract, which reports have placed at being valued anywhere from $17 million to $20 million per year.

If the new Instagram and YouTube report gains traction, Kelly would be the latest big-name TV journalist to light out for independent production. Katie Couric, the former “Today” co-anchor and “CBS Evening News” anchor, these days juggles a variety of projects that have in recent months included programming for the National Geographic cable network and a morning newsletter that has secured ad deals from Procter & Gamble and Sleep Number. Soledad O’Brien, the former CNN anchor, founded a production company in 2013. And Ann Curry, the former NBC News and “Today” co-anchor has worked for PBS and WarnerMedia as an independent operative since leaving NBC News.

 

 

 

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