×
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

  • WATCH WHAT HAPPENS LIVE WITH ANDY

    The First BravoCon Provides an Outlet for Obsession (Column)

    Were you one of the thousands flipping tables for not managing to snatch up tickets to the first ever BravoCon? Did you find yourself refreshing your Twitter and Instagram feeds incessantly for updates on who said what to whom and where over the weekend? Are you wondering if you should try harder to get in [...]

  • Riley Keough

    Riley Keough to Star in Amazon Series 'Daisy Jones and The Six,' Niki Caro to Direct

    Riley Keough has landed the title role in the upcoming Amazon series “Daisy Jones & The Six,” Variety has learned. In addition, Niki Caro has signed on to direct multiple episodes in addition to executive producing the series, which hails from executive producer Reese Witherspoon. Based on the novel of the same name by Taylor Jenkins [...]

  • ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show' Renewed for

    ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show' Renewed for Season 2 by NBCUniversal

    Kelly Clarkson’s presence as a talk show host is about to get stronger. NBCUniversal has renewed the “The Kelly Clarkson Show” through the 2020-2021 season, extending Clarkson’s daytime run. The “American Idol” and “Voice” coach’s show has been hitting hight notes in the ratings so far, with its debut back in September scoring the highest [...]

  • Jenni Konner

    Jenni Konner Signs Overall Deal at Fox 21 Television Studios

    Jenni Konner has signed a multi-year overall deal at Fox 21 Television Studios. Under the deal, Konner will create, develop, produce and oversee series for network, cable and streaming platforms for the studio, which is now part of Disney Television Studios. She and her former producing partner, Lena Dunham, were formerly under a deal at [...]

  • 'Dead To Me,' 'Why Women Kill'

    From 'Dead To Me' to 'Why Women Kill,' Angry Women are Getting Their Due on TV

    Angry women, this is your time. At least on TV. From such classic sitcoms as “The Honeymooners” to more modern multicams including “Everybody Loves Raymond,” lead female characters were more often than not portrayed as foils or just general counterpoints to their husbands. Sometimes this was portrayed through hysterical antics; more commonly it was through [...]

  • Melina Matsoukas AFI Franklin J Schaffner

    'Queen and Slim' Director Melina Matsoukas Inks First-Look Deal at FX

    Director Melina Matsoukas has signed a first-look deal with FX Productions. Under the deal, Matsoukas will develop new content for FX Networks. She recently directed the pilot for the upcoming FX series “Y,” based on the graphic novel series “Y: The Last Man.” Matsoukas will also serve as an executive producer on the series. Her [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content