×
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

  • Content-is-King

    Top TV Execs Tackle New Distribution Landscape in Rome

    ROME – In an increasingly complex TV market, with a host of new big-ticket streaming services preparing to enter an already crowded arena, both buyers and sellers are rethinking some of the fundamentals of the TV business as they grapple with the best way to reach global audiences. A host of top producers, network executives, [...]

  • MIA-MARKET-2019_Europe-Producers-Club_4

    European Producers and Broadcasters Debate How to Weather Streaming Storm

    ROME – The impending rollout of Disney Plus, HBO Max, and other new streaming services promises a new era of uncertainty—and opportunity—for broadcasters and producers in an industry already disrupted by the likes of Netflix and Amazon. At a panel hosted by the European Producers Club Friday afternoon during the MIA market in Rome, executives [...]

  • Kevin-Beggs

    Lionsgate TV Chairman Kevin Beggs on Streamers and TV’s ‘Platinum Era’

    ROME – Over the course of two decades in the industry, Lionsgate Television chairman Kevin Beggs has witnessed the ups and downs of a business that has frequently found itself confronting both dizzying new possibilities as well as existential threats. But these days the veteran exec, who oversees the development of all scripted and non-scripted content [...]

  • MAKING IT -- Season: 1 --

    TV News Roundup: NBC Announces 'Making It' Season 2 Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, NBC announced the “Making It” Season 2 premiere date and HBO Max greenlit a new docuseries from Brad Goreski and Gary Janetti. DATES Hosts Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman will return with the second season of “Making It” on NBC Dec. 2. After the show’s holiday season premiere, the show [...]

  • Luis Fonsi Erika Ender Latin Grammys

    The Second Latin Explosion: How 'Despacito' Ushered in a New Generation of Stars

    Music is an ever-evolving art, and for the Latin Recording Academy, that’s meant riding multiple waves of attention. The most recent arrived with the stratospheric success of “Despacito,” which kicked off a second Latin Explosion with full force in 2017. The Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee hit, later featuring verses by Justin Bieber, made Latin [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content