Day: October 25, 2018


Off Air…

Amid the fallout of her controversial comments about blackface, Mediaite has learned that Megyn Kelly will not be appearing on her show Thursday morning.

Sources have told Mediaite that NBC will be airing a previously-taped episode of Megyn Kelly Today. This comes as reports suggest Kelly’s show will be ending in the near future and that she may be working on an exit deal with NBC. Kelly has also dropped her talent agency amidst the strife.

The controversy began during a panel discussion on her NBC News show about “costume police” dictating Halloween. Kelly asked “what is racist” about white people wearing blackface and black people wearing whiteface on Halloween, noting they “get in trouble” when they do and adding that it was “okay” back when she was a kid as long as it was a character.

That caused an immediate uproar and she issued an apology to her colleagues at NBC, as well as an emotional on-air apology Wednesday morning. That was clearly not enough for NBC News President Andy Lack, her agents for all of five hours at UTA, or the cast of House of Cards.

Kelly’s show on Friday will also be pre-taped, sources said. It’s unclear when — or if — she will be returning to air.

[image via screengrab]

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Lack steps back…

The anchor had met with network executives to discuss covering more news and politics.

Megyn Kelly is expected to wind down her 9 a.m. Today show hour by the end of the season, a source close to the situation tells The Hollywood Reporter. 

Sources tell THR that Kelly has met with network executives in recent weeks to discuss the future of the show and expressed a desire to cover more news and politics. It’s unclear what NBC News would put in place of Kelly’s show. But the discussions are at least an acknowledgement that the experiment is not working and that Kelly would prefer to be covering more as she did with the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. Kelly met with NBC News chairman Andy Lack well before the controversy over her recent blackface comments erupted. 

Kelly has grappled with hard-news topics, including the #MeToo allegations against a series of powerful men. But her show is in a typically soft daypart, and she has often seemed to chafe at the lighter requirements of the job. Her clumsy comments about blackface on Tuesday’s Megyn Kelly Today — for which she apologized — have only exacerbated the situation. 

At a town hall with NBC News employees on Wednesday, Lack expressed dismay at Kelly’s remarks in which she brushed off the inherent racism of blackface during an on-air discussion about Halloween costumes. The backlash was immediate. And the controversy was covered in a segment on the NBC Nightly News With Lester Holt and also Wednesday morning on the flagship edition of Today. 

“There is no other way to put this, but I condemn those remarks — there is no place on our air or in this workplace for them. Very unfortunate,” Lack said at the town hall. “I think that Nightly covered the story well last night and appropriately so. I think this morning on the Today show, the team did an excellent job covering it properly. I thought Craig [Melvin] and Al [Roker] brought a thoughtfulness and a context to it that was sorely missing, and they really did this company and our audience a real public service. And that is the Today show and Nightly at their very best.”

Added Lack, “As we go forward, my highest priority remains, and as we sort through this with Megyn, let there be no doubt that this is a workplace in which you need to be proud and in which we respect each other in all the ways we know is foundational to who we are.”

Kelly has been under tremendous scrutiny since jumping from Fox News to NBC in early 2017 for a salary reportedly worth close to $20 million annually. Her exit came in the wake of widespread harassment allegations that forced the late Fox News chief Roger Ailes to resign, At Fox News, Kelly had built a reputation as a prosecutorial interviewer who sparred with then-GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump, earning her admiration and plaudits. But observers also questioned how she would adjust to the fluffier confines of morning TV.

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