×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NBCUniversal Chief on Megyn Kelly, Andy Lack and Future of NBC News

The Megyn Kelly debacle at NBC News has raised the question of whether NBC News chief Andy Lack will face repercussions for the costly experiment. But NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke told Variety on Monday that he is “100% behind Andy” and accepts some blame for the decision recruit Kelly from Fox News in early 2017.

“News organizations like ours should take risks,” Burke said. The decision to hire Kelly was ultimately Burke’s call, he said. “I went over and told (Kelly) she should come here,” Burke recalled.

Last week, Kelly reached a settlement with NBC News that calls for her to receive the remaining $30 million of her $69 million, three-year contract. Kelly’s 9 a.m. “Megyn Kelly Today” hour was canceled in late October after several incidents culminating with her defense of white people donning blackface for Halloween costumes.

“Megyn Kelly was a huge talent. She was at the wrong time of day (on NBC). In hindsight we shouldn’t have done it. But it wasn’t Andy going off rogue,” Burke said.

The public fight with Kelly and other unwelcome headlines for NBC News — including the firing of “Today” stalwart in November 2017 over sexual misconduct allegations — has stirred speculation about changes at NBC News. Burke defended his news chief and asserted his hope that Lack’s No. 2, NBC News president Noah Oppenheim, will eventually succeed Lack.

“I’m 100 percent behind Andy,” Burke said. “When the drumbeat began of ‘You gotta fire this guy’ — a lot of that was really unfair. Matt Lauer was a grenade that we didn’t know was a grenade. I was here seven years and I thought Matt Lauer was the greatest interviewer in news.”

Despite the public controversies, Burke emphasized the quality of NBC News’ work and his confidence in the current leadership team.

“I still have full faith in (Lack), and Noah is extraordinary. He’s going to end up running NBC News after Andy retires.” Burke said. “He’s really good.”

More TV

  • James Holzhauer $2 million

    'Jeopardy!' Champion James Holzhauer Hits $2 Million Winnings Milestone

    This current “Jeopardy!” player has just won over $2 million on the popular game show. Who is James Holzhauer? The 34 year old professional sports gambler from Las Vegas has hit a “Jeopardy!” milestone by becoming only the second person in the show’s history to win over $2 million in regular season play. Holzhauer won [...]

  • Kanye West Shares a Memory of

    Kanye West Shares a Touching Memory of His Mother in Letterman Interview

    In a preview of David Letterman’s interview with Kanye West, which begins streaming next Friday, May 31, the musician’s wife Kim Kardashian West, tweeted a clip of him sharing a touching memory of his mother, Donda, who died in 2007 after a surgical procedure. While his wife looks on smiling, West answers Letterman’s question about [...]

  • CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism

    CNN Lays Off Some Health Journalism Staffers

    CNN has laid off a handful of staffers from its health-journalism unit after deciding to place its health, climate and Southeastern newsgathering operations under a single aegis. ” As part of the normal course of business, our newsgathering team made a small restructure earlier this week that ultimately impacts 6-7 employees within CNN’s Health Unit,” [...]

  • Henry Ian Cusick

    'Lost' Star Henry Ian Cusick Signs With Buchwald (EXCLUSIVE)

    Henry Ian Cusick, best known for playing Desmond on the hit ABC series “Lost,” is signing with talent agency Buchwald for representation. Cusick also starred in the CW sci-fi/drama “The 100” and was most recently seen in the Fox series “The Passage.” His other notable television credits include “Scandal,” “24,” “Fringe,” “The Mentalist,” “Body of [...]

  • Bryan Cranston First Time in Variety

    Bryan Cranston on His Early Roles, Dealing With Rejection and His 'Erasable Mind'

    Following his 2014 Tony Award for best actor as President Lyndon B. Johnson in Robert Schenkkan’s play “All the Way,” Bryan Cranston is looking to add to his trophy collection this year with his performance as Howard Beale in “Network.” The deranged anchorman — who’s famously “mad as hell and not going to take this [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content