NBC aired a rerun in the slot for Megyn Kelly Today for the second straight morning on Friday, and the writing on the wall became official in the afternoon: She won't return to her show, period, with the controversy over her blackface comments seen as the final straw. "Next week, the 9am hour will be hosted by other Today co-anchors," said a network spokesperson. So what's next for Kelly? Still unclear. The latest:
- Another role? The early speculation was that Kelly would remain at NBC in a lesser role, but media writer Brian Stelter at CNN says that's now off the table. Kelly is expected to leave the network entirely.
- Back to Fox? Don't count on it, reports USA Today. Some of Kelly's former colleagues there are defending her—she "is not a racist," wrote meteorologist Janice Dean, while Geraldo Rivera said she's been "scapegoated"—but a network spokesperson made a point to say Fox is "extremely happy" with its current prime-time lineup. The AV Club interprets that to mean Fox is taking a "hard pass" on rehiring her.
- Big money: The NBC exit negotiations will revolve around Kelly's big contract—the network lured her from Fox in 2017 with a three-year deal worth $69 million, notes the Wall Street Journal. Despite that salary, Kelly has drawn a smaller audience than the show that preceded hers in the 9am spot.
- Critical view: Kelly promised she would be apolitical after moving from Fox, and Megan Garber at the Atlantic writes that it took only about a year for the "absurdity" of that "founding proposition to come to its full fruition." Garber doesn't let NBC off the hook, either, wondering if the network accused of protecting Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer would be sounding so sanctimonious about Kelly (see here) if her ratings were higher.
- Echoing a point: CNN's Don Lemon also faults NBC's execs. "They knew exactly what they were getting when they hired Megyn Kelly," he said, per Page Six. "All you have to do is do a Google search." (He's referring to things like this.) Lemon stops short of calling Kelly racist, but he says she's "not PC" and is badly suited for a fluffy morning show.
- NBC colleagues: They're not rallying behind her. The Washington Post talks to half-a-dozen current or former NBC staffers, and they complained of Kelly's big salary, low ratings, and previous controversies. One quote sums up the story: "Everyone’s feeling is, even if you have to pay her [the remainder of her contract], pay her," says a current staffer, who adds a reference to NBC News chief Andy Lack: "Andy, you can save face with this entire thing. Just get rid of her."
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