Megyn Kelly was once talked about as the future face of NBC News — possibly as its next chief news anchor. Now, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter, she has lost her perch as host of NBC’s Today show at 9 a.m.
Kelly went on hiatus from “Megyn Kelly Today” on Thursday, after a Tuesday segment defending white people for wearing dark-pigmented makeup in Halloween costumes — a practice that has a demeaning history going back to the minstrel shows of the 19th century.
Given the circumstances, Megyn Kelly Today will be on tape the rest of the week,” a spokesperson for NBC News told Deadline.
Later in the day, though, an NBC official got in touch with Kelly’s camp. This is a signal that negotiations are underway.
Given Kelly’s hugely valuable contract — said to be worth $23 million a year for three years — the stakes are high.
Over the past two days, Kelly has unsuccessfully sought to contain the damage from several statements she made on her hour on Today defending the desire of white people to dress up in blackface costume for Halloween.
Many factors are at play. Fox sources say the Murdochs, and Lachlan in particular, are still angry that Kelly rejected a $25 million a year offer before decamping to NBC. Among Fox anchors and producers, Kelly also remains a polarizing figure. Fox staffers resented how she leveraged her feud with Donald Trump during the 2016 election for mainstream-media celebrity.
That may not be accidental. Both Kelly’s Santa and blackface comments came in off-the-cuff remarks in what seemed planned as “light” segments about holidays and celebrations — the sort of things that aren’t considered weighty news.