Nearly three months after her show with the network was canceled, Megyn Kelly has officially left NBC. The news, which was confirmed by a statement to Entertainment Tonight on Friday, was followed closely by multiple reports claiming Kelly will be receiving the remainder of her original $69 million contract.
Megyn Kelly Today was canceled two years after Kelly first signed with NBC in what was at the time a surprising and much-discussed move for the network. Although rumors of an early cancellation plagued the show for months prior to its end, the actual cancellation was put into motion after Kelly now-infamously defended the use of blackface.
Megyn Kelly wonders what the big deal is about blackface pic.twitter.com/07yvYDuAYe
— Tommy MMXIXtopher (@tommyxtopher) October 23, 2018
Mere days after Kelly’s comments went viral, her 9 a.m. talk show was cut and negotiations over the terms of her exit reportedly began. According to CNN, sources have said that NBC had no choice but to honor the terms of the contract by paying Kelly the remainder of her originally agreed-upon salary.
That amount, taking into account the time she has already been paid for, is estimated to be in the $30 million range. This remains speculative, though, since both Kelly’s representatives and representatives from NBC have declined to comment on the precise terms of her exit.
Prior to her short-lived tenure at NBC, Kelly was a sought-after television news personality at Fox News for over 12 years. Despite reports that Fox offered her more than $20 million per year to stay on, Kelly sought to overhaul the adversarial image she’d acquired at the conservative network.
In 2017, ahead of Megyn Kelly Today, Page Six reported that Kelly’s ultimate goal was “to help people the way Oprah did.”
The outlet’s source said, “There was a lot of tough news to report on her show at Fox News. A lot of combative interviewing, going after people. Doing that every night was difficult. Megyn feels she has more to offer… she’ll be focusing on issues and bringing in real people as well as celebrities. Plus, she has a sense of humor and she wants to use that.”
However, that sort of likability and finesse for daytime talk failed to materialize for Kelly during her time at NBC. From reports of tension with NBC executives to awkward on-air moments, Kelly’s show consistently seemed to generate negative publicity for the network.
That reached a fever pitch in the fall of 2018 after Kelly said that she didn’t understand why blackface is racist, even on Halloween. This drew widespread denunciations, including from Al Roker and Craig Melvin, two of Kelly’s Today show colleagues.
Now that a resolution has been reached regarding Kelly’s exit, it remains to be seen whether she will find a home at another television network in 2019.