As we await official word as to what is happening with Megyn Kelly‘s contract at NBC, the morning news shows covered the controversy extensively on Friday — including at her home network. For the third day in a row, Kelly’s Today show colleagues addressed the drama head-on.
“Now, we move to Megyn Kelly’s future at this network in the wake of the controversy that has surrounded her this week,” Savannah Guthrie said, before throwing to NBC News correspondent Morgan Radford.
“With news of her departure from NBC coming out now, all eyes are on what happens next for the morning anchor,” Radford began. Citing a “source familiar with the situation,” Radford reported that Kelly is “in talks with the network about her imminent departure.” (NBC announced Friday that “Megyn Kelly Today is not returning,” but did not elaborate on her employment status.)
“Her apparent exit coming just days after Kelly made controversial comments on her show, defending the use of blackface, in a panel discussion on a university’s crackdown on inappropriate Halloween costumes,” Radford said before showing a clip — again — of Kelly’s comments from Tuesday’s episode of Megyn Kelly Today. It was a not-so-subtle dig that didn’t go unnoticed by a rival network, but more on that later.
Radford read a statement from NBC News that said, “Given the circumstances, Megyn Kelly Today will be on tape the rest of the week.” In the package, they went through “mixed” social media reactions in support of and against NBC’s decision to put Kelly on hiatus.
“Now, growing speculation this morning over what will happen to Kelly’s reportedly $69 million three-year contract,” Radford stated. “Sources familiar with the situation tell NBC News that conversations have already started about Megyn’s exit. The exact details of which remain unclear at this point.”
At Good Morning America, Robin Roberts introduced a segment on the controversy about 30 minutes into the show. “Now, the continued trouble for Megyn Kelly,” she said. “Questions about her future are growing as she faces fallout for her remarks concerning blackface. ABC’s Linsey Davis is here with the latest. Good morning.”
“She was once listed as [one of] Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the world,” Davis began. “She is NBC News division’s highest-paid anchor and this morning, it appears Wednesday’s show where Megyn Kelly apologized may have been her last, at least at NBC.”
The package showed clips of both Kelly’s blackface comments and the apology from her shows this week. Overall, GMA stayed away from the original reporting on the situation and relied on reports from the Hollywood Reporter about Kelly’s sit-down with the network planned for Friday.
Before the proceeding returned to Roberts, Davis read a statement from Fox News about speculation that Kelly might return to her former network. “We are extremely happy with our entire lineup,” Fox said in a statement.
“That says a lot,” Roberts quipped, before sitting down with ABC’s chief legal analyst, Dan Abrams, and Marisa Guthrie of the Hollywood Reporter, to dissect the drama even further.
Guthrie and Roberts noted how NBC was sending a clear message by including reports about Kelly on their own newscasts — both Today and NBC Nightly News — and by repeatedly airing her blackface comments, along with racially insensitive remarks Kelly made while at Fox, in their reporting.
“That’s a powerful signal they are not protecting her,” Guthrie stated.
Roberts later added, “Her show did not live up to expectations — and that’s being generous in saying that — and some are feeling NBC executives are using it as a way to get rid of her.”
“She’s a tough person, she tried to make it more of a newsy show and really dug into the #MeToo stuff, she had a lot of accusers on, but when she offered to have Matt Lauer on with his accusers, the NBC executives were outraged by that,” Guthrie reported. “So this has been building.”
“And they may find out just how tough she is, it doesn’t appear she will go away quietly,” Roberts said, concluding their nearly 10-minute long segment.
CBS This Morning also covered the latest reports on Kelly at the top of the first hour, with Gayle King kicking things off about 13 minutes in.
“Megyn Kelly remains at the center of a controversy this morning, days after she suggested putting on blackface as part of a Halloween costume is not necessarily racist,” she said. CBS included original reporting on the situation citing a “source close to the TV host” who claims “her employment status at NBC News has not changed.”
King then introduced CBS News national correspondent Jericka Duncan, who reported on “why her career there is still in jeopardy.”
“That same source tells us reports that Kelly’s show will be canceled and that she’s seeking a $50 million settlement ‘sound untrue,’ but for a second day in a row, Megyn Kelly Today is a rerun, adding to the speculation of her imminent exit,” Duncan said.
The segment touched on Kelly’s “history of making racially insensitive comments,” including a clip from 2013 when she declared on Fox News that “Jesus was a white man too.”
Kelly hasn’t received much public support from her peers — although it’s unclear if anyone reached out privately — but Gayle King offered some words of encouragement off-air.
“I know Megyn Kelly. I happen to like Megyn Kelly. … I think she’s a very smart cookie, very smart at what she does,” she told Stephen Colbert. “But I think she clearly stepped in it. She made a terrible mistake. And I was surprised that she would make a mistake of that kind.”
King added, “But I never wish bad on anybody, I don’t. I’m not a Pollyanna girl — I’m not that — but I do feel that this is a rough time for her.”
While Kelly’s future at NBC remains unclear, the network said in a statement Friday, “Megyn Kelly Today is not returning.”
“Next week, the 9 a.m. hour will be hosted by other Today co-anchors,” NBC said.
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