Update: Feb. 2, 9:30 a.m. PT: Sources have told Us Weekly that Tamron Hall's decision to leave NBC had everything to do with Megyn Kelly's arrival, and that she was completely blindsided by the news that the network had cancelled her hour of the Today show.
Hall learned the news "minutes before going on air Friday that she and Al [Roker] were being taken off the show for Megyn Kelly," a source said. "She was a wreck in commercial breaks and couldn't believe the company would tell her just before going live on MSNBC. It was especially surprising after receiving an email of praise from the coexecutive producer just days before about how they were No. 1 in the ratings for seven weeks in a row."
The following Tuesday turned out to be her last day as an anchor on the network — she abruptly quit ahead of the end of her contract this month.
On Thursday, Roker addressed Hall's sudden departure.
"As some of you may have heard by now, our good friend Tamron Hall has decided to leave NBC News," he said. "Personally, Tamron has been not just a cohost on Today for the past three years, but a good friend — and to not just me, but to all of us here. We want to wish her nothing but the best, much continued success, and we cannot wait to see what her next chapter is."
Now that Hall is leaving, the future of the network a bit fuzzier than expected. While there was no explicit mention that Hall was leaving because of Megyn Kelly's impending arrival to the Today show, the timing is suspect, and from the way People magazine reports it, no amount of money could sway Hall's opinion to stay. Is Kelly really to blame or was it time for Hall to move on to bigger and better things?
Hall will be leaving NBC and MSNBC after more than 10 years with the networks. In a recently released statement to The Hollywood Reporter Hall she stated, "The last 10 years have been beyond anything I could have imagined, and I’m grateful. I’m also very excited about the next chapter. To all my great colleagues, I will miss you and I will be rooting for you." Hall's effervescent demeanor in her statement makes it sound like she wishes nothing but the best for her colleagues — old and new — but the timing of her departure is, as previously mentioned, rather intriguing.
When a character made your dream real. Thank you for helping girls/women own our space. Toss my hat in your honor taken 2013 pic.twitter.com/Puqikd6WA6— Tamron Hall (@tamronhall) January 25, 2017
Hall's departure comes right as Kelly plans to make her big leap from Fox News to NBC. Kelly will be taking over one hour of Today's four-hour morning block, although it is still unknown if it will be the 9 a.m. or 10 a.m. slot. Regardless of which hour she chooses, it's been confirmed Al Roker & Tamron Hall will get bumped to make room for Kelly. It is possible to make an educated guess that Hall's departure acts as confirmation Kelly will be taking the hour previously occupied by Hall and co-host Al Roker. Only time will tell.
The development is noteworthy for a few reasons. The first is that, as People reported, Hall was offered a multiyear, multimillion dollar contract NBC contract. That's major. If, after a decade of relationship-building between employer and employee, Hall could not be persuaded to stay, that implies to me that there's a bigger brouhaha we're not hearing about. Would Hall have had to forgo certain roles to make room for Kelly? Was the network disrespecting Hall's seniority within the Today show hierarchy?
Granted, this is speculative, but the fact remains the same: Hall's unexpected departure is major. While Hall hasn't updated us with details on her next professional venture (and goodness knows my curiosity is piqued), this NBC exit could belie bigger problems in the network's attempt to make room for Kelly.
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